Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Whenever you are concerned to think and act about your salvation, you must put away all thoughts of works, traditions and philosophy - indeed, of the law of God itself. And you must run directly to the manger and the mother's womb, embrace this infant and virgin's child in your arms, and look at Him - born, being nursed, growing up, going about in human society, teaching, dying, rising again, ascending above all the heavens, and having authority over all things. In this way you can shake off all terrors and errors, as the sun dispels the clouds. This vision will keep you on the proper way, so that you may follow where Christ has gone. ...Martin Luther image

Some Christian pastors embrace Scientology
From Diana Miller and Gary Tuchman

TAMPA, Florida (CNN) -- Some Christian congregations, particularly in lower income, urban areas, are turning to an unlikely source for help -- the Church of Scientology.

Scientologists do not worship God, much less Jesus Christ. The church has seen plenty of controversy and critics consider it a cult. So why are observant Christians embracing some its teachings?

Two pastors who spoke recently with CNN explained that when it comes to religion, they still preach the core beliefs of Christianity. But when it comes to practicing what they preach in a modern world, borrowing from Scientology helps.
the rest

TLC: Canadian Bishops: No Change on Blessings

In its first meeting since last summer’s General Synod passed legislation that same-sex blessings were not core doctrine, but then failed to give approval for dioceses to implement them, the Canadian House of Bishops stated that their position has not significantly changed from their pastoral statement last April when they said they could not advise proceeding with same-sex blessings.

In recent synod meetings, the dioceses of Ottawa and Montreal have approved same-sex blessings, but the bishops of those dioceses have not consented to the action taken by their synods.
the rest

GOD TV Set to Take Thousands to Israel for the Nation's 60th Birthday

Christian Newswire/ -- Global Christian broadcaster, GOD TV, is planning a mammoth tour which will see thousands of Christians from different countries visit Israel next May for the holiday of a life-time, as they celebrate her 60th Anniversary as a modern nation.

Israel is presently experiencing a tourism boom and May is an ideal month and a great season to visit the country. Hosted by GOD TV founders, Rory & Wendy Alec, the tour will comprise of many smaller groups catering for the individual, as well as a number of special events where the entire tour group can come together. Tour members can also choose from four different itineraries including a youth adventure option.
the rest


Justices Hear Arguments on Internet Pornography Law
Published: October 31, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 — Ever since it unanimously overturned the Communications Decency Act a decade ago, the Supreme Court has pushed back against Congressional efforts to regulate Internet content.

Five years ago, for example, the court struck down the Child Pornography Prevention Act, which made it a crime to create, distribute or possess “virtual” child pornography that uses computer-generated images or young-looking adults rather than real children.

Congress has refused to take no for an answer, and based on the way an argument unfolded on Tuesday at the Supreme Court, it appears that Congress may have finally fought the court to a draw.
the rest

Only Christian TV Station in Holy Land Closing Down
By Julie Stahl Jerusalem Bureau Chief
October 31, 2007

( - The only indigenous Christian Arab television station in the Holy Land and the Arab world is being forced to close down for financial reasons after 11 years in operation, the owner said on Wednesday, and he may join the exodus of Christians who are leaving the Palestinian areas.

Samir Qumsieh, who owns and manages the Al Mahed "Nativity" television station in Bethlehem -- the birthplace of Jesus -- said the last broadcast will take place at 9 p.m. local time Wednesday evening.
the rest

Jewish and Anglican leaders urge people to protect all holy sites
The Associated Press
October 31, 2007

JERUSALEM: The Archbishop of Canterbury and Israel's chief rabbis issued a joint declaration Tuesday calling on religious communities worldwide to take responsibility for protecting all holy sites.

In their second meeting this year, the head of the Anglican church, Archbishop Rowan Williams, and Israeli Chief Rabbis Shlomo Amar and Yonah Metzger said the desecration of any holy site is a setback for all religious people.

"Every holy place — for example, synagogue, church or mosque — that belong to religious people, keep it as a holy place," Metzger said. "We hope that people will hear it and will keep our decision."
the rest photo

Albert Mohler: Christianity and the Dark Side -- What About Halloween?
Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Over a hundred years ago, the great Dutch theologian Hermann Bavinck predicted that the 20th century would "witness a gigantic conflict of spirits." His prediction turned out to be an understatement, and this great conflict continues into the 21st century.

The issue of Halloween presses itself annually upon the Christian conscience. Acutely aware of dangers new and old, many Christian parents choose to withdraw their children from the holiday altogether. Others choose to follow a strategic battle plan for engagement with the holiday. Still others have gone further, seeking to convert Halloween into an evangelistic opportunity. Is Halloween really that significant?

the rest photo

FAA fines minister $28,000
By Audrey Hudson
October 31, 2007

The Rev. Sam Childers says he might need an attorney.

The Pennsylvania missionary operates the orphanage for victims of the war in Sudan's Darfur region and elsewhere in Africa, and he is in a fight with federal aviation officials over a $28,000 fine for some supplies he tried to send to his shelter.

For more than a decade, he has transported needed supplies to operate the orphanage's power generator in a clearly marked household plastic container. That is until April, when 3 quarts of motor oil, two bottles of diesel treatment and a can of spray lubricant in the crate were confiscated by airline screeners.

Mr. Childers, president of World Missions Shekinah Fellowship, apologized in a subsequent letter to U.S. government officials, saying he was not aware the supplies were classified as "hazardous materials" and illegal to ship by commercial plane.
the rest

Religious liberty and the gay-equality movement
By Carl H. Esbeck
October 30, 2007

What happens when a claim to religious liberty comes up against a powerful social movement for gay equality? In a recent determination by the U.S. Department of Justice, religious liberty came out on top on the basis of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

Although DoJ as of late has been the gang that couldn’t shoot straight, its ruling here is on target.World Vision, a Christian world relief and community development organization, sought the ruling. In 2005, World Vision was awarded a $1.5 million grant by DoJ to address an escalating gang presence and juvenile crime in Northern Virginia. The grant was awarded under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, which is subject to provisions of the Safe Streets Act. That Act requires grant applicants to give assurances that when using grant money the applicant will not discriminate on the basis of religion.
the rest

Anglican Diocese of California offers backing to gay blessings
by Daniel Blake
Posted: Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Episcopal Diocese of California has given authorisation for the use of three trial rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.

The vote, which took place at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral on 20 October came after the Synod requested that Bishop Marc Andrus authorise three rites developed by a diocesan liturgical commission.

The decision has been made in spite of liberal claims that the US Episcopal Church had obeyed the Anglican Communion’s request to ban gay bishops and same-sex blessings.
the rest

What's So Great About Christianity?
By Dr. Paul Kengor
Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Interview with Dinesh D’Souza

Dr. Paul Kengor: Dinesh, I can’t help but begin by tossing you a big softball: I’m impressed by the endorsements for your new book. This is quite an eclectic bunch: Francis Collins of the Human Genome Institute, academic Stanley Fish, the Rev. Robert Schuller, Oxford’s Daniel Robinson, historian Paul Johnson and even Michael Shermer, the publisher of Skeptic magazine. Clearly, you’ve done something right. The title of this book, What’s So Great About Christianity, is a natural follow-up to your earlier work, What’s So Great About America, but the theme is really a follow-up to a bunch of recent books by others attacking religious belief generally and the Christian faith in particular. This book is obviously an answer to the polemics by Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and others. What’s your answer?
the rest

Monks return to streets of Burma
Wednesday, 31 October 2007

More than 100 monks have marched in central Burma, the first time they have returned to the streets since last month's bloody crackdown on protests.

The monks chanted and prayed as they marched through Pakokku, the site of an incident last month that triggered pro-democracy protests nationwide.
the rest

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

ACNS: [Australia] General Synod pleasing to Primate
30 OCTOBER 2007

The President of the General Synod of the Anglican Church, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, said he is very happy with the sense of unity that the Synod has witnessed this week on a range of critical issues.

The Church is finalising its General Synod in Canberra. The event is the Parliament of the Church which sits every three years.

The Primate highlighted the following decisions:

* Mission and attendance - a task force of General Synod “Fresh Expressions Australia” has been tasked with preparing a proposal for a full time National Mission Facilitator and developing appropriate criteria for the selection, training and deployment of ordained and lay pioneer ministers in an Australian context.
the rest

Church Membership, Attendance Down Fourth Straight Year

Membership in The Episcopal Church declined by 50,804 and average Sunday attendance decreased by 21,945 during 2006, the fourth straight year in which both membership and attendance have decreased, according to
figures compiled by the congregational development department at the Episcopal Church Center.

Membership declined by 2 percent in 2006, the same percentage as the previous year, whereas the decline in average attendance increased from 2 percent in 2005 to 3 percent in 2006. Roughly half of the decline in average attendance was attributed to three dioceses: Dallas, Florida and Virginia. All three recorded departures and/or splits at some of the largest Episcopal churches in the U.S.

Kirk Hadaway, director of research and development in the Congregational Development office, attributed the decline to a variety of factors, including fallout from the 2003 General Convention. Mr. Hadaway said demographics and cultural changes are also factors.

the rest

A Statement on the Global South Primates’ Visit to China
October 21-30, 2007
(Beijing, Xi’an, Nanjing & Shanghai)


1. At the invitation of the Honourable Minister of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Ye Xiaowen, the Primates of the Global South of the Anglican Communion visited the cities of Beijing, Xi’an, Nanjing and Shanghai from 21-30 October 2007. We wish to express to the government and the people of China our deepest appreciation for the very warm welcome and hospitality extended to us. This most historic visit is opportune as it affirms the ties already established through the efforts of the Minister and the esteemed officials of the Religious Affairs Administration. We are grateful to God for giving us this golden opportunity to deepen our mutual understanding and future cooperation.

Signed by:

Most Rev Dr Peter J. Akinola (Nigeria)
Most Rev Dr Bernard Amos Malango (Central Africa)
Most Rev Dr John Chew Hiang Chea (South East Asia)
Most Rev Ian Ernest (Indian Ocean)
Most Rev Dr Mouneer Hanna Anis (Jerusalem and the Middle East)
Most Rev Emmanuel Musaba Kolini (Rwanda)
Most Rev Justice Ofei Akrofi (West Africa)
Most Rev Henry Luke Orombi (Uganda)
Most Rev Dr Fidèle Dirokpa (Congo)
Most Rev Francis K. J. Park (Korea)

the rest

Matt Kennedy+: Will there be Discipline in the Common Cause Partnership?
October 30, 2007

Excerpt: "This common conviction does, I believe, provide the foundation for a future ecclesial order to which orthodox clergy and people can submit in good conscience. Were the bishops of an orthodox body of this sort, for example, to make a pronouncement on a disputable matter (a matter not plainly taught in the scriptures) then all Christians within that body would be obligated to submit and I hope that they would. I mention this future possibility because I think that, unfortunately, the battle against heresy and false teaching may have bred a sense of defiance in us that while, perhaps, necessary and good when faced with golden statues and fiery furnaces, is not good at all within a true visible manifestation of the Church."

the rest

Transgender man can keep post as pastor
Methodist council rules after local clergy questioned his appointment

By Liz F. Kay Sun reporter
October 30, 2007

The highest judicial body of the United Methodist Church announced Tuesday that a transgender man can remain pastor of a congregation in Charles Village.

The ruling by the Judicial Council affirms last spring's decision by Bishop John R. Schol to reappoint the Rev. Drew Phoenix -- formerly the Rev. Ann Gordon -- to St. John's United Methodist Church.

Schol's action had been appealed to the Judicial Council by several local clergy in the Baltimore-Washington Conference, who have raised questions about the proper role of transgender people within the church.
the rest

The Presiding Bishop’s role in consecrations
posted by Fr. Rob Eaton
October 30th, 2007

It seems worth noting the Canonical responsibilities and requirements of the Presiding Bishop in the consecration of other bishops. There are two places in the Canons of the Episcopal Church which speak to this issue. The first is the section of the Canons that provide what otherwise might be called the “job description” outline for the Presiding Bishop; the second is the section referring specifically to the election, process of consent, and then consecration and installation of a diocesan bishop. The second helpfully fleshes out what “take order for” means.

the rest

Monday, October 29, 2007

He is with us on our journeys. He is there when we are home. He sits with us at our table. He knows about funerals and weddings and commencements and hospitals and jails and unemployment and labour and laughter and rest and tears. He knows because He is with us - He comes to us again and again - until we can say, It's You! It's You! ...Bob Benson photo

“Progressive” Anglicans urge bishops to allow gay marriage
Solange De Santisstaff writer
Oct 29, 2007
London, Ont.

A group of Canadian Anglicans on the liberal, or “progressive,” side of issues concerning homosexuality and the church have urged Anglican bishops to “proceed to (the) full inclusion (of gay and lesbian people) by providing access to all sacraments and sacramental rites of the church,” including marriage.

The letter was addressed to the bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada, who are holding their fall meeting here from Oct. 25 to 30.

the rest
Anglicans Ablaze )

California: Students vote gay couple homecoming princes
By KIM MINUGH McClatchy Newspapers

Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the royalty of Davis Senior High School's junior class: Brandon Raphael and his prince, Kiernan Gatewood.

For what appears to be the first time in school history, the Davis Senior High student body has elected a gay couple into homecoming royalty. With each boasting a white sash declaring his title as "Prince," the two 16-year-olds rode through the city of Davis on a recent Friday afternoon in the school's annual homecoming parade.

They stood in the back of a pickup truck, arm-in-arm, smiling warmly despite the rain.

"People were so excited for us," Gatewood said of the couple's victory, announced a few weeks ago. "We were a little surprised, but Davis ..."

"Is a liberal town," interrupts his boyfriend of four months, Raphael. "Go 10 miles in any other direction and you'll get some other feeling."

the rest

Church leaves national group
First Presbyterian seeks realignment

Assistant People editor
Oct 29, 2007

One of south Louisiana’s largest Presbyterian churches is splitting with the nation’s largest Presbyterian denomination.

Baton Rouge’s First Presbyterian Church announced in an e-mail Sunday that its members had voted 425-61 that morning to end a 25-year association with the Presbyterian Church (USA).
The next step is considered a formality: requesting alignment with the much smaller Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

The Evangelical Presbyterian Church is a denomination of about 180 congregations and 75,000 members as compared with the 2.3 million members and 11,000 churches of Presbyterian Church (USA), but the smaller denomination is viewed as more conservative.

“This was a defining moment for us,” the Rev. Gerrit Dawson, senior pastor at First Presbyterian, said in the e-mail. “We want to conduct our mission with clarity about the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the authority of the Scripture.”
the rest

ENS: South Carolina Bishop-elect Mark Lawrence receives necessary consents
By Mary Frances Schjonberg
October 29, 2007

[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori announced October 29 that the Very Rev. Mark Lawrence had received the consents needed for him to become the next bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.

The consecration will be held January 26, 2008 at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul in Charleston, South Carolina.

Jefferts Schori has been invited to visit the diocese February 25-26, 2008. "This will give us an opportunity to state with clarity and charity the theological position of this diocese in a manner similar to when we met with [the] Most. Rev. Frank T. Griswold shortly after his installation as presiding bishop," the diocese says in a statement on its website.

The Rev. J. Haden McCormick, president of South Carolina's diocesan Standing Committee, said the diocese has received the news with much appreciation. "We're delighted and blessed, and look forward to pressing on with the mission of the church," he said. "The diocese is so convinced that Bishop-elect Mark is the man God is calling. He has his own unique gifts that he will bring to the diocese, which will become clear as God leads us forward."
the rest

Democrats Plan a Shorter Workweek

WASHINGTON, Oct. 26 — Shortly after winning a majority last year, Democrats triumphantly declared that they would put Congress back to work, promising an “end to the two-day workweek.” And indeed, the House has clocked more time in Washington this year than in any other session since 1995, when Republicans, newly in control, sought to make a similar point.

But 10 months into the session, with their legislative agenda often in gridlock with the Bush administration and a big election year looming, the Democrats are now planning a lighter schedule when the 110th Congress begins its second year in mid-January.

The House majority leader, Representative
Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, told fellow Democrats this week that the House would not be in session next year on Fridays, except in June for work on appropriations bills.

Explaining that decision to reporters, Mr. Hoyer said, “I do intend to have more time for members to work in their districts and to be close to their families.”
the rest

Pope urges pharmacists to reject abortion pill
Mon Oct 29, 2007

(Reuters) - Pharmacists must be allowed to refuse to supply drugs that cause abortion or euthanasia, Pope Benedict said on Monday, calling on health professionals to be "conscientious objectors" against such practices.

The Pope told a convention of Roman Catholic pharmacists that part of their job was to help protect human life from conception until natural death -- the Church teaching that rules out any deliberate termination of pregnancy or euthanasia.

"It is not possible to anaesthetise the conscience, for example, when it comes to molecules whose aim is to stop an embryo implanting or to cut short someone's life," the Pope said.
the rest

GREEN FUNERALS: Putting aside embalming and tombs
Some believe that services at home and simple caskets gradually will change how society deals
with death.

October 28, 2007


Episcopalians grill bishop candidates
2 front-runners emerge as diverse slate of eight finalists tackle variety of issues

By Manya A. Brachear Tribune religion reporter
October 29, 2007

They shared personal tragedies, called on the church to defend the downtrodden and the marginalized, and defended their own answers to God's calling.

Eight finalists for the next Episcopal bishop of Chicago tackled immigration, stewardship, gentrification and the full inclusion of gays and lesbians during a tour of the diocese that ended Sunday.

Traditionally called a walkabout, the tour gave parishioners their only opportunity to grill the diverse slate of candidates before the election at the annual diocesan convention in Wheeling Nov. 10. The new bishop will succeed Bishop William Persell, who has led the diocese since 1999.

With two Africans and three women, including a lesbian, the slate reflects the changing face of the church. It also includes two local priests, indicating that some parishioners want a bishop who they believe already grasps their needs. the rest

Why Some Evangelicals are Throwing Out Birth Control
Barbara Curtis Contributor

“Are those all your children?” Over the years I’ve heard this question hundreds of times. Even with half my kids in tow, we stimulate the curiosity of the most socially cautious, who want to know how many we have, whether they’re all our own, if we’ve figured out where they came from, and when we’ll be finished having them.

“Are you Catholic?” they ask. “Are you Mormon?” Puzzled that a pair of everyday people would willingly trade fancy cars and dream vacations for fifteen-passenger vans and doctor visits galore.

I must admit I’ve had my moments. Like when we had six simultaneously in braces – top and bottom. I shook my fist at heaven Fiddler-on-the-Roof style: “Is this really what it’s all about? Building a swimming pool for our orthodontist and otherwise driving the American economy?”

Of course that’s not what it’s about, as God has made clear that he intended us to enjoy children as a blessing and reward from Him.

the rest

Middle-School Birth Control Plan Suggests Crimes, Group Says
By Matt Purple Corresponden
tOctober 29, 2007

( - A local Christian group in Portland, Maine, is claiming that a controversial decision to distribute birth control pills to students as young as 11 at a local middle school points to possible criminal activity.

On October 17, the Portland School Committee voted 7-2 to begin distributing prescription birth control pills and patches to students in grades 6/super /nosupersub through 8 at King Middle School.

Parents must give permission for their children to receive health services from the school clinic but will not be notified if their child requests and receives prescription birth control services there. Students in grades 6 through 8 are generally 11 to 13 years old.
the rest

Sunday, October 28, 2007

When darkness long has veil'd my mind,
And smiling day once more appears;
Then, my Redeemer, then I find
The folly of my doubts and fears.

Oh! let me then at length be taught
Why I am still so slow to learn;
That God is love, and changes not,
Nor knows the shadow of a turn.

Sweet truth, and easy to repeat!
But when my faith is sharply try'd;
I find myself a learner yet,
Unskilful, weak, and apt to slide.

But, O my Lord, one look from thee
Subdues the disobedient will;
Drives doubt and discontent away,
And thy rebellious worm is still.
...William Cowper

ENS: Presiding Bishop calls listeners to remember the 'mixed reality' of being 'the image of God in earthen vessels'
Diocese of Michigan, Province V brief Council on ministries
By Mary Frances Schjonberg,
October 28, 2007

[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori reminded the worshippers at Christ Episcopal Church in Dearborn, Michigan, October 28 that human beings are the image of God in earthen vessels.

"As long as we don't forget that mixed reality, we're doing just fine," she told the congregation which included both Christ Church members and those of the
Episcopal Church's Executive Council and Church Center staff who have been meeting in at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Dearborn. "When we assume either that we've got it all right, or if we forget that we are bearers of the divine image, we've missed the point."

Jefferts Schori, who also presided at the Eucharist, preached on the Proper 25's Revised Common Lectionary readings of
Jeremiah 14:7-10,19-22 and Luke 18:9-14.

The text of sermon is
here. the rest

A Higher Ecclesiology for Evangelicals
Bryan Litfin, author of Getting to Know the Church Fathers, says that we need to reclaim our spiritual heritage.
Interview by Susan Wunderink

Bryan Litfin's Getting to Know the Church Fathers, which has chapters on Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyons, Tertullian, Perpetua, Origen, Athanasius, John Chrysostom, Augustine, and Cyril of Alexandria, is designed to introduce the ancient church to evangelicals. Litfin writes about the lives and major issues of each person, then lists possible study questions, books for deeper exploration, and a short excerpt of the church father's writing. He is concerned that many Christians have rejected the church fathers under the impression that they were detached from Scripture, Roman Catholic, and that they represent the "fall" of Christianity after Constantine's conversion. Litfin spoke with CT about introducing evangelicals to Patristics.

Interview here

Mass appeal to Latin tradition
By Kristi Moore
October 28, 2007

Roman Catholic churches nationwide are rushing to accommodate a surge in demand for the traditional Latin Mass, which is drawing a surprising new crowd: young people.

Since July, when a decree from Pope Benedict XVI lifted decades-old restrictions on celebrating the Tridentine Mass, seven churches in the Washington metropolitan area have added the liturgy to their weekly Sunday schedules.

"I love the Latin Mass," said Audrey Kunkel, 20, of Cincinnati. "It"s amazing to think that I"m attending the same Mass that has formed saints throughout the centuries."
the rest

C of E to empower foreign bishops
Jonathan Wynne-Jones

The Church of England is set to allow foreign archbishops to intervene in its affairs, secret papers reveal.

Under controversial plans being drawn up by the Church's bishops, leaders from Africa and South America would be able to take over the care of parishes in this country.

They threaten to end the historic power of bishops to have ultimate control over their dioceses because parishes could ask for overseas prelates to carry out important duties, such as leading ordination services.

The proposals are part of a covenant or rule book of beliefs that has been endorsed by Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, as a last ditch attempt to prevent the Anglican Church from splitting over gay clergy.
the rest

Saturday, October 27, 2007

"Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was"
Exodus 20:21

God has still His hidden secrets, hidden from the wise and prudent. Do not fear them; be content to accept things that you cannot understand; wait patiently. Presently He will reveal to you the treasures of darkness, the riches of the glory of the mystery. Mystery is only the veil of God's face.

Do not be afraid to enter the cloud that is settling down on your life. God is in it. The other side is radiant with His glory. "Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings." When you seem loneliest and most forsaken, God is nigh. He is in the dark cloud. Plunge into the blackness of its darkness without flinching; under the shrouding curtain of His pavilion you will find God awaiting you.
...Streams In The Desert photo

Two Christians kidnapped from a hospital in Pakistan
27 Oct 2007

ISLAMABAD: Suspected pro-Taliban militants kidnapped two Christians from a hospital in Pakistan's North Waziristan, a news report has said.

Masked men kidnapped the two Christian sanitation workers from the Miranshah Headquarters Hospital in North Waziristan on Friday, eyewitnesses said. Naeem Masih and Shahbaz Masih were abducted "right from the main gate of the hospital", the Daily Times quoted witnesses as saying. Around 1,000 Christians live in Miranshah.

the rest

Scout backers crash Philly mayor's e-mail
Barrage of 150,000 messages after city hiked rent $200,000 due to 'gay' policy

October 27, 2007

Philadelphia City HallOutraged citizens crashed the e-mail system of the Philadelphia mayor's office after the city accused the local Boy Scouts chapter of discriminating against homosexuals and forced the organization to pay $200,000 rent for its city-owned headquarters.

About 150,000 Boy Scout-related e-mails were removed from the city's e-mail system, reported the
Bulletin newspaper of Philadelphia.

"We were deluged," said Terry Phillis, chief information officer for
Mayor John Street. "We pulled the messages off so they wouldn't take the system down. It had to be done to protect system integrity." the rest

NYT: The Evangelical Crackup
October 28, 2007

The hundred-foot white cross atop the Immanuel Baptist Church in downtown Wichita, Kan., casts a shadow over a neighborhood of payday lenders, pawnbrokers and pornographic video stores. To its parishioners, this has long been the front line of the culture war. Immanuel has stood for Southern Baptist traditionalism for more than half a century. Until recently, its pastor, Terry Fox, was the
Jerry Falwell of the Sunflower State — the public face of the conservative Christian political movement in a place where that made him a very big deal.

With flushed red cheeks and a pudgy, dimpled chin, Fox roared down from Immanuel’s pulpit about the wickedness of abortion, evolution and homosexuality. He mobilized hundreds of Kansas pastors to push through a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, helping to unseat a handful of legislators in the process. His Sunday-morning services reached tens of thousands of listeners on regional cable television, and on Sunday nights he was a host of a talk-radio program, “Answering the Call.” Major national conservative Christian groups like Focus on the Family lauded his work, and the Southern Baptist Convention named him chairman of its North American Mission Board. the rest

Serious Challenges Face American Anglicanism: On What Principles Will a New Order Be Shaped?
By Rev. Dr. Tim Smith

Summary Points
The Parish is the basic unit of the church in American Anglicanism. Local property rights prevailed throughout early American Anglicanism. Centralization of control using the corporate model which began to be used in the early 1900s - has failed the purposes of the Church. Any new order should return to the foundational roots of American Anglicanism.

In the life of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA), the basic unit has historically been the local parish. With the parish being - and not the diocese or the national church - the basic unit of the church in the United States, property rights of the lands and buildings of a parish from the inception of ECUSA were held by the local church which had purchased those lands and constructed those buildings.
the rest at Virtueonline

Anglicans descend on London [Canada] tomorrow
Sat, October 27, 2007

Anglicans from across Southwestern Ontario are expected to fill the John Labatt Centre tomorrow as the Diocese of Huron celebrates its 150th anniversary.

About 9,000 worshippers are scheduled to bus or drive to a special service in the arena from parishes as far away as Windsor, Owen Sound and Kitchener.

"This might be the largest religious service ever held in the region," said Rt. Rev. Bruce Howe, Bishop of Huron. "It will certainly be the biggest gathering of Anglicans."
the rest

Outside in
Where you stand makes a big difference in what you see
Andrée Seu
I recall my first experience with the Korean shoe custom. It was 1979, for I was not yet married to my Asian husband. About to enter the apartment of a couple he knew, I stood at the door sizing up the situation: Everyone inside was shoeless; neatly paired footwear sat at the threshold; I was a first-time visitor. As a friendly voice within beckoned me enter, I made a split-second calculation—and guessed wrong. I plowed into the house with shod feet, thus desecrating the showroom-pristine carpeting.

In ignorance of Korean culture from the inside, I had erroneously ascribed to the shoe rule a significance of which I was quickly disabused. I had made the assumption that the removal of foot apparel was: (1) a mystical practice rising from the mists of Oriental history; (2) an honor reserved for family and close friends. Come to find out the purpose is to keep the rugs clean. the rest photo

Albert Mohler: The Loss of Vocation and its Recovery -- The Listening Heart
Friday, October 26, 2007

The concept of vocation -- in the theological sense of a calling -- has all but disappeared from contemporary society. The late Professor A. J. Conyers blames this loss on the rise of confidence in personal autonomy and an absolute demand for personal choice in all dimensions of life.

The Listening Heart: Vocation and the Crisis of Modern Culture [Spence Publishing], Conyers said he was writing for readers "who cannot, for their life, take modern western culture at face value," and for those "who suspect that the modern, western world, even with its productivity, lacks something essential to the human spirit." the rest

Protestants celebrate their heritage, the Reformation
Millions of worshipers worldwide will commemorate Martin Luther's challenge to papal authority with his 95 theses.

By K. Connie Kang, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 27, 2007

On Sunday, about 70 million Lutherans around the world, joined by Christians of many Protestant denominations, will commemorate the Reformation.

This liturgical festival, marking Martin Luther's 16th century challenge to papal authority by nailing 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, inspired the Protestant Reformation that changed the course of Western civilization.

Luther's theses, challenging certain practices and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, ultimately led to the division of Europe into two camps and triggered religious wars that lasted decades.
the rest

FOX News Poll: Half of Voters Eye Candidates' Abortion Stance
Friday, October 26, 2007
By Dana Blanton

NEW YORK — Even though few Americans say abortion will be the most important issue for them in the upcoming election, nearly half say they need to know a candidate’s position on abortion before deciding their vote for president.

A FOX News poll released Friday shows that 45 percent of Americans need to know a candidate’s position on abortion before they vote, while 53 percent say it is not something they need to know.

Click here to view the full results of the poll.

It’s more important to pro-life voters than for any other group. A 56 percent majority of those identifying themselves as pro-life say they need to know where a candidate stands on abortion, while 41 percent of pro-choice voters, 48 percent of women, 46 percent of Republicans and 51 percent of born-again Christians, need to know.
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Anglican bishop expects same-sex motion to pass
October 27, 2007

It's "highly likely" Anglicans in the Diocese of Huron, which includes churches in Waterloo Region, will vote on same-sex blessings at their next decision-making meeting in the spring, the diocese's bishop says

"I can certainly say it's highly likely that something will come forward," Rt. Rev. Bruce Howe said yesterday in a news conference in London, the seat of the diocese.

When asked if he thought such a vote would pass, Howe said "My guess would be yes."
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Friday, October 26, 2007

In the very beginning, when this great universe lay in the mind of God, like unborn forests in the acorn-cup; long ere the echoes waked the solitudes, before the mountains were brought forth, and long ere the light flashed through the sky, God loved His chosen creatures. ... CH Spurgeon photo

Door still open for Quincy Diocese exit from Anglican church
By Leon Lagerstam
October 25, 2007

An Episcopal train still may be leaving an Anglican station, and members of the Quincy Diocese are waiting for it to pass by before deciding to disembark, according to a diocesan press officer.

Resolutions paving the way for a possible split from the embattled U.S. Episcopal Church body were approved during an annual synod meeting last weekend at Christ Church in Moline, said the Rev. John Spencer.

No final decisions about leaving were or could have been made during that synod meeting, he said.
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Australia: Anglican debate reignites
Barney Zwartz
October 27, 2007

DIVISIONS in the Anglican Church over women bishops were reignited yesterday when conservatives from opposite ends of the spectrum set up an organisation to protect dissidents.

More than a quarter of the 247 delegates to the Anglican general synod in Canberra held a hastily organised late-night meeting and set up a group to represent opponents of women bishops.

Liberals thought the battle for women bishops was over when the church's highest court ruled last month that they were legal, but debate will now start again.

The new group, the Association for Apostolic Ministry, is headed by Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen, the church's leading evangelical, and Ballarat Bishop Michael Hough, chief spokesman for the high-church group known as Anglo-Catholics.
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Dogs Do Crazy Things

(There must be sermon material here somewhere...)

Pope Benedict to visit New York April 18-20
Included in Pope Bededict's visit will be a speech made to the United Nations on April 18, a mass on April 19 at St Patrick's Cathedral and a larger outdoor mass at Yankee Stadium on April 20, sources say.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Spero News

Pope Benedict XVI is to visit New York for a three-day visit in April, Spero News was told by sources in that city. According to the sources, who claimed to have access to the Holy Father's schedule, the Pope is scheduled to be in New York from April 18 to April 20.

This would be Benedict's first visit to the United States as Pope.

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Am I Growing Yet?
What a disappointed "fully devoted follower of Jesus" should be looking for.

Mark Galli

I pay attention when perhaps the most prominent church in America says it is completely revamping how it does church.

Willow Creek, which made "seeker-sensitive" services famous, now attracts some 20,000 a week. Over the decades, tens of thousands of pastors have looked to Willow Creek for leadership as they strive to minister faithfully to their own churches. Willow Creek's premiere teaching event for pastors is the annual Leadership Summit, held each August. At the last Summit, Bill Hybels, founding pastor of Willow,
talked about a survey of Christians that his co-worker Greg Hawkins conducted, involving over 30 churches in the Willow Creek network.

The results were "Groundbreaking … . The data is earthshaking," said Hawkins in
a video summarizing the results. Hybels said it "just rocked my world." It is transforming how they do things at Willow.
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Council for World Mission Backs Burmese Struggle for Democracy
By Eric Young
Christian Post Reporter
Fri, Oct. 26 2007

The Council for World Mission has joined others in the international ecumenical community in expressing its support for the people of Burma pressing for the creation of a
democratic government.

In a statement this week, CWM assured the people of Burma of its “moral support for them in their desire and demand for a democratic government” after the country recently witnessed some of the largest protests in two decades against the ruling junta.

“[CWM] expresses solidarity with those individual citizens and communities of faith who have engaged in protest against the military regime,” the worldwide body of Christian churches stated.”

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In New Orleans, Rebuilding With Faith
October 26, 2007

NEW ORLEANS — Two months after the Rev. Lance Eden arrived as pastor of First Street United Methodist Church, Hurricane Katrina struck.

Mr. Eden, newly ordained, quickly picked up skills few in the pulpit typically need. He learned how to restore a church whose roof had been peeled off and whose bell tower had been knocked askew. He played host to hundreds of volunteers who came to gut and rebuild. And most recently — and reluctantly — he took on the role of developer.

“I’d rather be doing something else,” Mr. Eden said. “But when you hear stories like the Good Samaritan or about how Jesus walks into the temple and overturns the tables of the money-changers, it charges us as a church to make sure justice is done for all people.”
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Senate extends Internet tax ban for 7 years
Associated Press
Oct. 26, 2007

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday night approved a seven-year extension of a moratorium on state and local taxes on Internet access.

The Senate voice vote came a little over a week after the House passed a bill calling for a four-year moratorium. The tax ban, first approved in 1998, is set to expire Nov. 1.
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The Eugenics Temptation
By Michael Gerson
Wednesday, October 24, 2007

James Watson, the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who helped discover the structure of DNA in 1953, recently pronounced the entire population of Africa genetically inferior when it comes to intelligence. And while he hopes that everyone is equal, "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true."

Watson's colleagues at the Federation of American Scientists found his comments "racist, vicious and unsupported by science" -- all true. But they could not have found those views surprising. In 2003, Watson spoke in favor of genetic selection to eliminate ugly women: "People say it would be terrible if we made all girls pretty. I think it would be great." In 2000, he suggested that people with darker skin have stronger libidos. In 1997, Watson contended that parents should be allowed to abort fetuses they found to be gay: "If you could find the gene which determines sexuality and a woman decides she doesn't want a homosexual child, well, let her." In the same interview, he said, "We already accept that most couples don't want a Down child. You would have to be crazy to say you wanted one, because that child has no future."
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Abortion Wars
By Robert D. Novak
Thursday, October 25, 2007

WASHINGTON -- National anti-abortion leaders Wednesday put finishing touches on a letter to be sent to all members of Congress urging suspension of more than $300 million in federal funding of Planned Parenthood until a massive criminal case brought in Kansas against the abortion rights organization is settled. That launches an attack against the nation's largest purveyor of "reproductive health care" -- including abortions.

On Oct. 16, Kansas District Judge James F. Vano in suburban Kansas City spent eight hours reviewing a 107-count grand jury indictment against Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri Inc. and decided there was "probable cause" to proceed. Allegations of unlawful late-term abortions and other abortion-connected crimes were brought by Johnson County District Atty. Phill Kline, a pro-life hero nationally who is viewed as a fanatic by abortion rights advocates. The prosecution alleges violation of state and federal laws and falsification of documents to justify it.
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American Life League Unveils New Online Map With Location of All US Planned Parenthood Centers
Map coordinators are hoping to encourage peaceful and prayerful protests at all PP sites.
By Meg Jalsevac
WASHINGTON, DC, October 25, 2007

( - The American Life League (ALL), in cooperation with their affiliate organization STOP Planned Parenthood (STOPP), has launched a highly detailed online map that pinpoints the exact location of each of Planned Parenthood's (PP) 860 clinics across the United States. The new webpage also provides information regarding any scheduled protests that take place on a regular basis at the PP locations.
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New Primate makes traditional visit to Lambeth

OCTOBER 25, 2007 -- Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, paid a traditional call on Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams on Oct. 16. It is a tradition for new Anglican leaders of provinces to visit the archbishop, the titular head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, at his home in Lambeth Palace.

During their two-hour meeting, Archbishop Hiltz described the current state of the Anglican Church of Canada, particularly after the national meeting, General Synod, this past June. He spoke about the issue of human sexuality, and explained the diocese of Ottawa's decision to approve blessings of same-sex unions. (The diocese of Montreal, which later passed a similar motion, had not yet met).

Archbishop Williams appeared receptive to the Canadian church's actions. "He described our approach to handling the whole matter as 'coherent,'" said Archbishop Hiltz. "We also, in that conversation, focused on the pastoral statement of the bishops and the kind of value that has for the church."
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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Mystery Comet Explodes Into Brightness

(Oct. 25, 2007) — A once-faint comet has made a sudden leap from obscurity to center stage. Comet 17P Holmes, now visible to northern hemisphere residents, increased its brightness by a factor of one million this week, going from magnitude 17 to 2. This makes it visible to the unaided eye as well as binoculars and telescopes, offering a unique viewing opportunity for sky watchers.

"This is a terrific outburst," said Brian Marsden, director emeritus of the Minor Planet Center, which tracks known comets and asteroids. "And since it doesn’t have a tail right now, some observers have confused it with a nova. We’ve had at least two reports of a new star."

*NOTE: Raymond and I can see this comet naked-eye in the middle of light-polluted Syracuse with a full moon bathing the night sky with light! Spectacular!

Where would you be if God took away all your Christian work? Too often it is our Christian work that is worshiped and not God. ... Oswald Chambers photo

'Golden Compass' draws ire of the Catholic League
Watchdog group says film pushes an atheist agenda

By Chris Kaltenbach Sun reporter
October 24, 2007

The leader of a conservative Catholic watchdog group is imploring people not to see The Golden Compass - a children's fantasy based on the first book of British author Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. Pullman's work, says William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, promotes an atheist agenda that is profoundly anti-Church.

True, he hasn't seen the movie, which comes out Dec. 7, and he has little reason to doubt the filmmakers' claims that it considerably waters down the book's more controversial aspects. But the possibility that the movie could persuade some unsuspecting parents to buy the book for their children makes him furious.

"It's selling the virtues of atheism," Donohue says over the phone from the league's New York office. "The real person we want to get on this is Pullman. I don't want to see these books flying off the shelves at Christmas. I want them to be collecting dust."
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Prominent Beijing Pastor Beaten Again By Security Forces, Christians Say
Thursday, 25 October 2007
By BosNewsLife News Center

BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife)-- Chinese Christians remained concerned Thursday, October 25, about the health situation of a prominent Beijing pastor amid reports he was beaten again by security forces after being discharged from Tiantan Hospital.

China Aid Association, a major religious rights watchdog, said the incident happened after police transferred Pastor Hua Huiqi from the Beijing-based medical facility back to his rented house on October 16.

He had been treated in the Tiantan Hospital for injuries inflicted during a previous attack, on October 11, by officers of the Public Security Bureau (PSB), one of China's main law enforcement agencies, former house church leader Bob Fu told BosNewsLife.

Fu, who now leads CAA, said at the time that the pastor was "beaten until he was unconscious," and was rushed to hospital. Following his hospital discharge "he was beaten up again by 4 or 5 PSB officers" monitoring his home, "in the morning because he wanted to use the bathroom adjacent to his bedroom," CAA said in a statement.
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Anglican District of Virginia Congratulates The Reverend Doctor Tory Baucum on Installment as New Rector of Truro Church
via email

October 25, 2007
CONTACT: Kelly Oliver (ext. 140) or
Caitlin Bozell (ext. 119) at (703) 683-5004

FAIRFAX , Va. – The Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) welcomes and congratulates the Reverend Doctor Tory Baucum on his installation on Sunday, Oct. 28 as Rector of Truro Church. ADV is an association of Anglican congregations in Virginia and part of the Convocation of Anglicans in North American (CANA). Truro Church , located in Fairfax , Va. , is an active member of ADV in working together as partners in mission and ministry.

The installation will take place this Sunday, Oct. 28 at 11:15 am at Truro Church 10520 Main Street, Fairfax, Va., 22030.

“The faith, guidance, and leadership of Dr. Baucum will no doubt add to the strength of Truro ’s impact on the future of ADV within the international Anglican Communion,” said CANA Suffragan Bishop David Bena.

“I am blessed and honored to celebrate my installation this weekend with Truro Church and the rest of the Anglican District of Virginia . Through prayers of my brothers and sisters, as well as the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I am eager to continue the work of Christ at Truro Church ,” said the Rev’d Tory Baucum.

Rev’d Baucum serves as a Missioner of Alpha International and an adjunct professor of mission at Asbury Theological Seminary. He received a PhD in Intercultural Theology with expertise in the catechumenate, Christian revitalization movements and the history of preaching. He works closely with Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Pentecostals, and Evangelicals to recover an authentic expression of Anglican’s Via Media.

Baucum received his MA (1986) and M.Div (1988) from Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, Ambridge , Pa. , and his doctorate from Asbury in 2005. Prior to teaching at Asbury, Baucum was the rector of All Saints Church, Kansas City, Mo. , and has served on the clergy staffs of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Kansas City and Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Little Rock , Ar. In addition to his position at Asbury, Baucum also serves as the Alpha International Associate Missioner, London , England.

ADV website

TLC: Bishop Andrus: Trial Rites ‘Honor the Spirit’ of Primates’ Requests

Delegates to the annual convention of the Diocese of California approved overwhelmingly a resolution calling on Bishop Marc Handley Andrus to permit trial use of three rites as resources for formalizing the blessing of same-gender unions. Convention met Oct. 19-20 at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco.

The trial liturgies, which were developed by a task force approved by convention two years ago, were published in the convention delegate journal. The journal is available in electronic form on the diocesan website.
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Bishop Hails Improved Relations in Connecticut

The Bishop of Connecticut may exercise a newly canonically approved veto over parishes seeking to hire an assistant rector that do not pay their full 12½ percent diocesan assessment quota following approval of a canonical amendment by delegates during the annual convention Oct. 19-20 at Christ Church Cathedral, Hartford.
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Spokane Convention Holds Forum on Same-Sex Blessings

Australia: Support for US Bishops Evaporates
Jeremy Halcrow
25 October 2007

It looks highly unlikely Australian Anglicans will offer US Episcopal bishops any clear support for their attempts to re-enter full participation in the worldwide Anglican Communion, despite two senior Anglicans backing the American bishops.

Both the Australian Primate, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall in his presidential address and Canon Kenneth Kearon, head of the Anglican Consulative Council, in an after-dinner speech, advised Australia’s General Synod (parliament) that US bishops had complied with requests not to consecrate another homosexual bishop and not to authorise same-sex blessings.

“What I saw at the Primates’ meeting with the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church of the USA,” said Canon Kearon, “was a genuine attempt by both to seriously repair the breeches of trust which have arisen.”
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Canada: Anglicans elect first female bishop
By STEVE BRUCE Staff Reporter
Tue. Oct 23

The Anglican diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island has elected its first female bishop.
Right Rev. Sue Moxley of Halifax, who had been serving as the diocese’s suffragan bishop since March 2004, was the overwhelming choice of members of the diocesan synod in a vote conducted Saturday at the Cathedral Church of All Saints in Halifax.
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Religious freedom in India 'shrinking' says Christian author
Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Freedom of religion is steadily on the decline in India, warns John Dayal, a journalist-turned-Christian activist, who is now Secretary General of the All India Christian Council.

"Many of the rights have been systematically diluted over the years by governments, courts and fundamentalist forces," Dayal told Ecumenical News International in an interview on 13 October about his soon-to-be-released book on religious freedom in India.
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Albert Mohler: The Postmodern Eclipse of Evil -- Be Advised . . . and Be Afraid
Wednesday, October 24, 2007

One of the most harrowing features of modern thought is the reluctance to speak honestly about evil. The cause of this discomfort with the category of evil is understandable, of course. When belief in God recedes, confidence in moral judgment inevitably recedes with that belief.

This is brought to life in the pages of
The New York Times Magazine in the form of a film review. The film is a documentary about the French lawyer Jacques Verges -- a man who has defended some of the worst criminals in France, including Klaus Barbie and Carlos "the Jackal." He also had long friendships with murderous dictators such as Cambodia's Pol Pot and China's Chairman Mao. the rest