Friday, November 30, 2007

Doth He not know what is best for us, and what conduceth most unto His own glory? So it is to live in the exercise of faith that if God calls us unto any of those things which are peculiarly dreadful unto our natures, He will give us such supplies of spiritual strength and patience as shall enable us to undergo them, if not with ease and joy, yet with peace and quietness beyond our expectation. ...John Owen Dave's pics

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, at ‘secret’ gay ceremony
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent
November 30, 2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, presided at a “secret” Eucharist yesterday for lesbian and gay clergy in the Church of England.

At the service, in London, he gave a talk on “present realities and future possibilities for lesbians and gay men in the Church”. Conservative church members condemned the Archbishop, claiming that the service would make him the “focus of division”.

The venue, originally scheduled to be St Peter’s, Eaton Square, Belgravia, was changed to avoid media attention after news of the meeting emerged on the Church Society website this year. The meeting was organised by the Clergy Consultation, a support group for gay clergy, ordinands and Anglican monks and nuns. Secrecy was so tight that a list of names attending was sent to Lambeth Palace with orders that it be shredded as soon as Dr Williams had read it.
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TitusOneNine: Andrew Goddard: The Anglican Communion - Mapping the Terrain
Posted by Kendall Harmon

November 30, 2007

There are clearly a number of centrifugal forces currently threatening the unity of the Anglican Communion. The focus of these for many is the issue of the proper response to same-sex unions and here I have suggested there is a wide spectrum of views among Anglicans which can be broadly classified into four groups: rejection, reassertion, reassessment and reinterpretation.

Faced with these divisions, the Communion responded by addressing the underlying ecclesiological questions relating to how we live together in communion and maintain our unity in the face of diversity. This produced the Windsor Report and now the Windsor Process (and within it the covenant process). This has articulated a vision of life in communion that I have called 'communion Catholicism' and then sought to apply that to the differences over sexuality. the rest

Split in world church could mean change for local parish
BY RUTH JUSTIS - Staff Reporter
Friday, November 30, 2007

On Dec. 8, clergy and lay delegates of the San Joaquin Diocese of the Episcopal Church will meet in Fresno for their 48th annual convention and to vote on whether or not to remain a part of the Episcopal Church of America.

“This is a landmark convention for us,” said the Rev. J.P. Wadlin of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Ridgecrest. “This is the second part of a two part process. Any move must be ratified by two successive conventions to become canon law. If it passes and we do remove ourselves from ECUSA, we have to belong to some branch of the Anglican Church. The Archbishops and Bishops of the Province of the Southern Cone in South America have extended an invitation to us to come under their protection. The move would be temporary, pastoral and reversible.

”If ratified, the Diocese of San Joaquin, under the leadership of Bishop John-David Schofield, would be the first to make the move. Prior to this, only individual parishes have broken away and joined themselves to provinces in Africa or South America. San Joaquin Diocese, which extends from Stockton to Bakersfield and Rosamond to Mammoth, would become part of the Southern Cone, along with up to five other conservative dioceses, which are expected to make the move in the next six months.
the rest

ADV Welcomes the Congregation of Shepherd’s Heart Church
November 30, 2007
(via email)

The Anglican District of Virginia (ADV), an association of Anglican congregations in Virginia and part of the Convocation of Anglicans in North American (CANA), welcomes Shepherd’s Heart Anglican Church as its newest congregation. Shepherd’s Heart, founded in 1991 in Fairfax, Va., is a parish whose mission is “to walk with the wounded and equip the Saints for ministry.”

Dr. Harold Hammond, rector, says, “Shepherd’s Heart teaches hands-on, one-to-one, personal ministry and sharing of the Gospel, which includes on-the-job training. Congregants are taught how to share their faith in a variety of witnessing situations. Shepherd’s Heart uses ‘Evangelism Explosion’ materials which include classes for adults, teens, and children. Our parish is pleased to be a part of the Anglican District of Virginia as we work together to uphold orthodox Anglicanism.”

“We are overjoyed by ADV’s growing family with the addition of the blessed Shepherd’s Heart Anglican Church,” said Jim Oakes, vice-chairman of ADV. “ADV is eager to share in Shepherd’s Heart’s unique hands-on ministry and outreach.”

Shepherd’s Heart services are held every Sunday at 10:30 am and Wednesday at 12:30 pm ET at 11215 Lee Highway, Suite E in Fairfax, Va. The church website is Shepherd's Heart brings the number of ADV members to 21.

Papal encyclical attacks atheism, lauds hope
Fri Nov 30, 2007
By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict, in an encyclical released on Friday, said atheism was responsible for some of the "greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice" in history.

The 75-page "Spe Salvi", which takes its Latin title from a quote by St Paul (in hope we were saved), is an appeal to a pessimistic world to find strength in Christian hope.
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Encyclical Letter "Spe salvi"

A Rustling in the Garden
Why we sometimes wish the atheists were right.

Mark Galli

2007, it has turned out, was the year of God's absence. God's absence was lamented by a modern saint and celebrated by famous atheists. We learned that Mother Teresa experienced long stretches during which she had no sense of God's presence. Because she had experienced startling epiphanies earlier in life, these stretches of divine absence were excruciating for her. And we heard arguments from Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, among others, that God hasn't made himself known because, well, there is no one to be made known.
the rest-Excellent! art

Brit universities are terror hotbeds
Nov 25, 2007

British universities are coming under the spotlight in the country's fight against terrorism, with critics calling them a hotbed of extremism while lecturers say any clampdown threatens their freedom of speech.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently highlighted universities as one of the key areas where authorities needed to act against extremist influences.

However, a row is brewing over how officials can clamp down on radical groups recruiting students for militant causes without infringing on genuine academic debate.

The issue of campus extremism came to the fore in the aftermath of the London suicide bombings by four young British Islamists which left 52 people dead in 2005.
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Aborting children to save the planet

Kathleen Parker Washington Post Writer's Group
November 28, 2007

Hey, did you hear the one about the woman who aborted her kid so she could save the planet?

That's no joke, but Darwin must be chuckling somewhere.Toni Vernelli was one of two women recently featured in a London Daily Mail story about environmentalists who take their carbon footprint very, very seriously.

So seriously, in fact, that Vernelli aborted a pregnancy and, by age 27, had herself sterilized. Baby-making, she says, is "selfish" and "all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet."
the rest

British teacher gets prison time in Sudan for insulting Muslim faith
The Associated Press

KHARTOUM, Sudan — A Sudanese court convicted a British teacher Thursday of insulting Islam for letting her students name a teddy bear Mohammed. The court sentenced her to 15 days in prison, avoiding a heavier punishment of 40 lashes.

The teacher, Gillian Gibbons, wept in court, insisting she never meant to offend.

The sentence and quick seven-hour trial were aimed at swiftly resolving the case, which had put Sudan's government in an embarrassing position: facing the anger of Britain on one side and potential trouble from powerful Islamic hard-liners on the other.
the rest

TLC: Executive Council Officers Address Bishops’ Concerns
November 29, 2007

Civil litigation is the only recourse available when the canons of The Episcopal Church are not honored, according to two officers of Executive Council who recently wrote to a group of retired bishops.

Last summer four retired bishops—C. Fitzsimons Allison of South Carolina, Maurice M. Benitez of Texas, Alex D. Dickson of West Tennessee, and William Wantland of Eau Claire—wrote a series of letters to Executive Council requesting publication of the amount of money spent to date on legal and court fees in church property disputes and pleading with council to stop suing congregations that have left. The bishops also took issue with a resolution approved by the council which declares “null and void” canonical amendments approved by dioceses to qualify or remove language which subordinates the diocesan canons to those of the national church. A fifth retired bishop, Milton L. Wood, suffragan of Atlanta, subsequently asked to have his name added to the second letter.
the rest

ENS: Committee on the State of the Church issues interim report
By Jan Nunley and Mary Frances Schjonberg
November 29, 2007

[Episcopal News Service] An
interim report issued by the House of Deputies Committee on the State of the Church says the Episcopal Church needs "a plan for action" to address concerns related to its identity, mission and organization.

"Who are we?" the report asks. "What does it mean to be an Episcopalian? What are our core values? How are we differentiated from other Christian faith traditions? What are our strengths and weaknesses? Where are our opportunities?"

Described as a "brief assessment of facts and trends," the report points out that "marvelous work goes forward at all levels of our church, often understated, and not fully appreciated, but truly transforming in nature."

A pdf of the report is available
here. the rest

Anglican leader blasts breakaway groups
Canadian primate also denounces recruiting efforts of South American archbishop to lure Canadians

Nov 30, 2007
Stuart Laidlaw
Faith and Ethics Reporter

The Anglican Church of Canada is striking back at its orthodox critics.

In a statement to be read out in Anglican churches across the country on Sunday, Primate Fred Hiltz condemns the actions of breakaway members as "inappropriate, unwelcome and invalid" and "deplores" efforts by a South American archbishop to extend his influence into Canada.

"We deplore recent actions on the part of the primate and general synod of the Province of the Southern Cone to extend its jurisdiction into Canada," says the pastoral statement, also signed by four regional archbishops.
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Thursday, November 29, 2007

It is often during nights of trouble that the brightest lamps of believers are set ablaze. ...JR Macduff image

Planned Parenthood-Endorsed Book for Young Children too “Sexually Explicit” for Prisoners
By Hilary White
November 28, 2007

( – Excerpts from a sexually explicit book published for children aged eight to thirteen have been banned from Internet sites and from a Washington state prison for its “inappropriate content”. The book includes graphic depictions of genitalia, different forms of contraception, tampons and menstrual pads, and depicts people engaged in sex. It explains non-vaginal sex such as oral and anal sex. It has little to say about virginity (the word does not appear in the index), abstinence or chastity.
the rest

For Toddlers, Toy of Choice Is Tech Device
November 29, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 28 — Cellphones, laptops, digital cameras and MP3 music players are among the hottest gift items this year. For preschoolers.

Toy makers and retailers are filling shelves with new tech devices for children ages 3 and up, and sometimes even down. They say they are catering to junior consumers who want to emulate their parents and are not satisfied with fake gadgets.

Consider the “hottest toys” list on, which includes the Easy Link Internet Launch Pad from Fisher-Price (to help children surf on “preschool-appropriate Web sites”) and the Smart Cycle, an exercise bike connected to a video game. the rest image

Pope accepts Muslim call for dialogue, plans meeting
Thu Nov 29, 2007
By Phil Stewart

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict has accepted an unprecedented call by Muslim scholars for dialogue between Christians and Islam, inviting them for meetings in Vatican City, the Vatican said on Thursday.

Some 138 Muslim scholars wrote to the German-born Pontiff and other Christian leaders last month, saying "the very survival of the world itself" may be depend on dialogue.

The Pontiff, who as head of the Catholic Church represents more than half of the world's two billion Christians, praised the scholars' "call for a common commitment to promoting peace".
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Powerful earthquake hits Caribbean

seismic monitor

Ruth Gledhill's Weblog: Rowan celebrates 'secret' gay communion service
November 29, 2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, today presided at a 'secret' eucharist for the Clergy Consultation, as we reported that he would back in September. As we report, he gave a talk on 'present realities and future possibilities for lesbians and gay men in the church.' The venue, originally at St Peter's Eaton Square, was switched to another location in London to avoid media attention after new of the meeting emerged first on the Church Society website. In a speech on ecumenism in Rome last Friday, translated from German for me by Chris Gillibrand, Cardinal Walter Kasper spoke of the irrevocable divisions emerging from Anglicanism's present crisis.

The Cardinal said: 'While we in old matters of controversy we try to overcome old divisions, presently in ethical questions new divisions open up. This applies in particular to the protection of life, to marriage and the family, and issues of human sexuality. The joint public testimony is thereby weakened or impossible. The internal crisis for the churches is most evident in the Anglican community, but not only there.' the rest

Comments at Stand Firm

A Gadfly in the House
Amid all the pulse takers and poll watchers in Congress, Rep. Henry Hyde, who died this morning, was more interested in being right than in being popular.

Marvin Olasky 11/29/2007

This article was originally published in the March 9, 1992 issue of Christianity Today.

The walls of U.S. Representative Henry Hyde's outer office sport all the trappings of democracy and reveal much about this 67-year-old veteran of conservative politics. Visiting constituents can look to their left in Room 2262 of the Rayburn Building just south of the Capitol and see a giant map of the Illinois Sixth Congressional District, which extends from Chicago's O'Hare Airport south and westward past Wheaton College. They can stare ahead at two gargantuan blowups of thank-you notes to Hyde from kindergarten classes to which he sent flags. They can look to the right and see a large photograph of the Capitol, with the words of Alexander Hamilton, "Here, Sir, the people govern."

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US Bishops fail to convince primates
CEN 11.30.07 p 6.
November 28, 2007
Rev. Canon George Conger

The Primates have returned a vote of no confidence in the Episcopal Church. Lambeth Palace reports that a majority of primates have rejected the conclusions of the ACC/Primates Joint Standing Committtee (JSC), and have told the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams the Episcopal Church has failed, in whole or in part, to honor the recommendations of the Windsor Report and the Primates’ Dar es Salaam communiqué.

The majority rejection of the JSC report comes as a blow to Dr. Williams’ hopes to avert a showdown between the liberal and conservative wings of the Communion. It also marks an unprecedented repudiation of the competence and judgment of the central apparatus of the Anglican Consultative Council.

Following the publication of the positive assessment by the JSC of the actions of the New Orleans meeting of the US House of Bishops, Dr. Williams wrote to the primates asking “How far is your Province able to accept the JSC Report assessment that the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops have responded positively to the requests of the Windsor Report and those made by the Primates in their Communiqué at the end of their meeting in Dar es Salaam?”
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A Preliminary Response to the Draft Covenant by the Anglican Church of Canada
November 29, 2007

At its recent meeting, the Council of General Synod approved the following initial response to the draft Anglican Communion Covenant and asked that it be forwarded to the Communion offices.


Added: A Pastoral Statement from the Primate and Metropolitans of the Anglican Church of Canada
November 29, 2007

The following pastoral statement is released to the Church by the Primate and the Metropolitan Archbishops of each of the four ecclesiastical provinces.


TLC: Episcopalians, Other Christians Ask Muslims for Forgiveness
November 29, 2007

Seven bishops and other Episcopal leaders joined with a number of influential Christian leaders in signing a letter asking Muslims to forgive Christians. The letter with signatures recently appeared as a full-page advertisement in The New York Times.

“Muslims and Christians have not always shaken hands in friendship; their relations have sometimes been tense, even characterized by outright hostility,” the authors said. “Since Jesus Christ says, ‘First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye’ (Matthew 7:5), we want to begin by acknowledging that in the past (e.g. in the Crusades) and in the present (e.g. in excesses of the 'war on terror’) many Christians have been guilty of sinning against our Muslim neighbors. Before we ‘shake your hand’ in responding to your letter, we ask forgiveness of the All Merciful One and of the Muslim community around the world.”
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Conservative Anglicans to establish new Canadian denomination
By Jim Coggins

THE ANGLICAN Network in Canada (ANiC) has followed through on its plans to set up an alternative Anglican structure for conservatives "who find themselves unable to stay in the Anglican Church of Canada but want to stay connected to the Anglican communion."

At its conference last week in Burlington, Ontario, the ANiC made a formal offer to provide "alternative episcopal oversight" to Anglican parishes in Canada.

That oversight will be provided by retired Canadian bishop Donald Harvey, who is now a bishop with the Southern Cone (South American) province of the worldwide Anglican communion under the authority of Archbishop Gregory Venables.
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Bishops without borders launched in Canada
November 29th, 2007
Chris Sugden

Revolutionary movements in Eastern Europe in the 1980s and 1990s headed for the TV stations. In the revolution in the Anglican Communion last week, the Anglican Network in Canada launched its parallel Anglican entity in a TV Station in Burlington, Ontario.

260 leaders of congregations across Canada gathered at short notice. Nothing could be finalised until the Province of Southern Cone synod on 5-7 November had re-elected Gregory Venables as Presiding Bishop and permitted North American churches to affiliate with the Province.
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CANADA: Layman Laments Canadian Anglican Church's Spin on Bishop's Departure
By Norman G. Henderson
Special to VirtueOnline

The Council of General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada (its executive body) has issued a statement responding to Bishop Don Harvey's departure to the Southern Cone.

Mr. Henderson, an activist layman, makes a section-by-section analysis on the CoGS statement which was unanimously approved by The Council of General Synod.

the rest at Virtueonline

Gay bishop is wary of `religious right'
The first openly gay Episcopal bishop spoke about tolerance and understanding on Tuesday night at NSU in Broward County.

Wed, Nov. 28, 2007

People must ''rescue the Bible from the religious right'' and fight for civil rights to be extended to everyone, including gays and lesbians, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop said Tuesday night.

Gene Robinson, the Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, told a crowd of about 150 people at Nova Southeastern University's Shepard Broad Law Center in Davie that society suffers from a system set up to benefit heterosexual couples, which he called ``heterosexism.''
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Brazilian Homosexuals File "Hate" Charges Against Brazilian Christians
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
SAO PAULO, November 27, 2007

( - The Brazilian Association of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transvestites and Transsexuals (ABGLT) has lodged a criminal complaint against Christian activist Julio Severo and the National Vision for Christian Awareness (VINACC) for inciting "hatred" against homosexuals, and "homophobia".

The complaint was made because Severo, on his website (, regularly denounces homosexual behavior as immoral, and opposes the goals of the homosexual movement. VINACC is also accused because it reposts Severo's material. the rest

'Golden Compass' incenses both Christians and atheists
By Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAY

Rarely can one movie annoy stalwart defenders of Christianity and atheists alike.

Now, The Golden Compass, based on the first book of British author Philip Pullman's trilogy, His Dark Materials, has done it.

The movie is sure to be as anti-Christianity as the fantasy novels, says William Donohue, head of the Catholic League, which fights anti-Catholic bias. He wants parents to avoid the PG-13-rated film.
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Church of Scotland Rejects 'Golden Compass' Boycott Calls

Young people turn to Christianity in Hindu-dominated Nepal
Anto Akkara
22 November 2007

Young Christians meet near Katmandu. Photo by Anto Akkara/ENI©Katmandu (ENI). When Raju Lama embraced Christianity at the age of 16, his Buddhist parents were furious and virtually expelled him from the family home near the Nepalese capital of Katmandu.

Undeterred, Lama, who became a Christian in 1989, began trying to persuade his parents to do the same. Ten years later that persistence paid off, and his parents converted to Christianity, followed by his sisters and brother.

"I am happy I could persuade my family members to become Christians," said Lama, who is now the president of the United Christian Youth Fellowship in Katmandu valley.
the rest (H/T Magic Statistics )

Albert Mohler: The Awkward Irony of the Atheist Sunday School
Thursday, November 29, 2007

Incongruous as it sounds, atheists are now organizing Sunday Schools. TIME magazine reports that many non-believing parents are concerned that their children are not adequately grounded in secular thought and feel left out of experiences like Sunday School that are common among their friends.

Reporter Jeninne Lee-St. John understands that the idea seems a bit strange. "On Sunday mornings, most parents who don't believe in the Christian God, or any god at all, are probably making brunch or cheering at their kids' soccer game, or running errands or, with luck, sleeping in. Without religion, there's no need for church, right?"
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The Wedding Crashers: Local churches protest same-sex marriage ban
By Jeff Severns Guntzel
November 21, 2007

On Sundays, the Saint Paul-Reformation Church often holds informal soup and bread gatherings to discuss congregation business. It was at one of these meetings about two years ago that Jim McGowan, a member for more than two decades, proposed that the church stop marrying straight couples.

The church had long welcomed members of all sexual orientations—they had even bucked local Lutheran leadership and ordained a lesbian pastor. But McGowan, a straight man, nonetheless saw a subtle form of discrimination. If the church couldn't legally marry gay couples, he argued, it shouldn't marry straight ones either.
the rest

Vast Nazi archive opens to public
Wednesday, 28 November 2007

The archive contains details on the fate of millions of the Nazi's victimsA vast archive of wartime German documents on the Nazi Holocaust has been opened to the public.

The 47m documents, kept in Germany, contain detailed records on 17.5m forced labourers, concentration camp victims and political prisoners.

Previously, the files were only used to trace missing persons, reunite families and provide information for compensation claims.
the rest

UK teacher goes to court in Sudan
Thursday, 29 November 2007

Police prevented journalists from entering the court for the hearingA British teacher charged in Sudan with insulting religion, inciting hatred and showing contempt for religious beliefs has been brought to court.

Journalists were prevented from entering as Gillian Gibbons, 54, from Liverpool, went inside.
She was arrested after complaints that her primary school pupils had called their class teddy bear Muhammad.
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Breakaway Anglicans set for fight
$1 million set aside, law firm hired as property battle threatens

Nov 29, 2007
Stuart Laidlaw, faith and ethics reporter

Canada's breakaway conservative Anglicans have a million-dollar war chest to fight pending legal battles over church property and have hired a Bay Street law firm, documents from the groups' recent meeting in Burlington reveal.

"It is possible that we could lose church properties at the end of the day," reads one of the documents, released this week by Anglican Essentials Canada. "However, that day could be very long coming."
the rest

Man, Mountain, Wingsuit

Another great video: here

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Anglican Communion: An international overview
The Rev Canon Dr Chris Sugden
Anglican Network in Canada conference
November 23, 2007
Burlington, Ontario, Canada


TLC: Brazilian Churches Agree on Mutual Recognition of Baptism
November 27, 2007

The Anglican Church of Brazil was one of five signatories to an ecumenical document which mutually recognizes the validity of baptism among five branches of the Christian faith.

The five churches have agreed that “re-baptism” is not necessary when a person changes affiliation from one branch to another. In the document the five agree that “the baptism instituted by Christ is fundamentally a free gift of God,” the signatories also “accept the baptism as basic link of the unity that is given by the faith in the same Lord.”

In addition to the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil (IEAB), the churches are: the Roman Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Presbyterian United Church and the Syrian Orthodox Church.
the rest

God and the 'Economist'
Religion and Hubris

By Chuck Colson
Christian Post Guest Columnist
Tue, Nov. 27 2007

On the eve of the new millennium, the prestigious Economist magazine published what amounted to an obituary for belief in God.

Fast forward to November 2007: The cover story of a recent issue of the magazine is titled, "In God's Name"
. In it, the editors admit that they were wrong eight years ago and tell their readers that “religion will play a big role in this century’s politics.”

What happened to change their minds? For starters, they began looking through the correct end of the telescope.

In 1999, the magazine cited the many different conceptions of God as possible evidence that, instead of man being created in God’s image, it was the other way around. They mocked God’s supposed concern for “the diet of the Jews” and the fact that Hindus depicted him as “a blue-faced flute-player with an interest in dairy-farming.”
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Cross-dressing day sparks school exodus
Parents pull students from district, citing conflicts with biblical rules

November 28, 2007
By Bob Unruh
© 2007

A public school's "gender-bender" cross-dressing event, where boys were supposed to dress as girls and girls as boys, has prompted at least dozens, perhaps hundreds, of students to flee the tax-supported institutions in Iowa.
the rest

Religious group sues state to overturn gender-bias law
Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Religious conservatives sued Tuesday to overturn a state law barring public schools from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or identity, saying it would force school officials to allow boys into girls' locker rooms.

The author of the measure, which is scheduled to take effect in January, responded that the ban on discrimination has been on the books for years and that the new law will merely reorganize the statute books to make them easier to understand.
the rest

DC Public Schools: Critics blast 'biased' sex-ed courses

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Life passes, riches fly away, popularity is fickle, the senses decay, the world changes, friends die. One alone is constant; One alone is true to us; One alone can be true; One alone can be all things to us; One alone can supply our needs; One alone can train us up to our full perfection; One alone can give a meaning to our complex and intricate nature; One alone can give us tune and harmony; One alone can form and possess us.
...John Henry Newman image

CNY Diocese: St. Andrew's Anglican Church to share quarters with a Baptist church
By William Moyer
Press & Sun-Bulletin
Tuesday November 27, 2007

VESTAL -- Almost six months after withdrawing from the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York, members of St. Andrew's Anglican Church in Vestal will leave their buildings on Mirador Road this week and share facilities with a Baptist congregation on Front Street.

After the congregation's vestry voted in June to leave the Episcopal Church, leaders faced the prospect of a long and costly legal battle with the diocese over the local parish's buildings, which include a church, community center and rectory.

"We said all along that we would not go to court for our buildings," said the Rev. Anthony Seel, pastor of St. Andrew's Anglican Church. "We do not believe that Christians ought to be suing Christians. The diocese had already sued St. Andrew's in Syracuse, and we decided we weren't going to get involved in a court battle."
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Incitement to hatred plans must allow traditional Christian opinion - Churches
Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Church of England and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales have commented on the Government’s plans to create a new offence of incitement to hatred on grounds of sexual orientation.

Focussing on the use of threatening words or behaviour which are used with the intention of stirring up hatred goes a considerable way towards meeting the Churches’ concerns, they say in a memorandum to the parliamentary committee responsible for the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill.

While they affirm their support for the protection of people vulnerable to attack on grounds of their sexuality or gender identity, the Churches suggest that existing legal provisions in the Public Order Act already offer sufficient protection.
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Anti-Christian Persecution in India Hits New High
At least four cases of Christian persecution in India were reported in the average week this year, according to statistics recently revealed by the president of the All India Catholic Union and others actively monitoring the situation
Tue, Nov. 27, 2007


Australia: Bishops hinder gay tolerance, says Michael Kirby
By Michael Pelly
November 26, 2007

HIGH Court judge Michael Kirby says only some of his colleagues have accepted his homosexuality, and that he is unhappy with the way relations between them have developed.

And Justice Kirby accused the Anglican and Catholic archbishops of Sydney, Peter Jensen and George Pell, of making it hard for people to adopt a more tolerant attitude to gays.
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Peace on Earth and in the Church
Archbishop Peter Jensen
26 November 2007

‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests,’ sang the angels (Luke 2:14). A mangled version of this has entered popular speech, making Christmas a time to think about the end of wars on the earth. Not that that is a bad hope, and as we end 2007, it is certainly right for us to look out into the world and long for a thorough outbreak of peace among all men everywhere.

But the peace which the angels announced was an even more profound one. It was peace between God and humanity, a reconciliation through Christ the Lord. Much as we long for the cessation of war, so much more should we be gladdened that God has acted to remove the causes of warfare between himself and us. This is what makes us sing with joy at Christmas and throughout the year. It is also the true ground of reconciliation between people.
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Stand Firm: Life on the Ground in Minnesota: Gary Johnson Resigns from the Trustees of the Diocese
Posted November 27, 2007

As trustees, we hold funds that are restricted in amount or purposes for use within the Diocese. Yet, we are not given information how much is being taken from each fund each year and how it is being used by the diocese consistent with the donor’s intention. I have asked repeatedly during my first two years for this information, but have not received it. As I have stated several times, I cannot fulfill even the minimal obligations I believe I have as a Trustee without this information. Malcolm has always assured me it will be done. At our recent meeting I was pleased that there appears to be some renewed resolve to actually do this. I have simply grown tired of asking for things like this, being assured it will be done, but then only to see that it is not done.

Full letter at Stand Firm

Official Split in Canadian Anglican Communions "likely to get messy"
LifeSiteNews Special Report from Burlington Conference
By Tony Gosnach
November 27, 2007

( - Finally pushed over the line by some Canadian dioceses' acceptance of blessings for same-sex unions, almost 300 biblically faithful Canadian Anglicans met at the Crossroads Centre in Burlington, Ont. Nov. 22 and 23 to arrange for new ecclesial oversight to replace that of the Anglican Church of Canada.

The Building on the Solid Rock conference was staged by the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC), formed in 2005 to serve as a "lifeboat" for Canadian Anglicans increasingly alienated by the liberal theology taking hold in that church's Canadian dioceses. Over the past two years, the network has sought out alternative ecclesial oversight from elsewhere in the world and, on Nov. 8, achieved that after a vote by the synod of the Province of the Southern Cone in South America. That province has agreed to provide such oversight for disaffected Canadian Anglicans.
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After Stem-Cell Breakthrough,
the Work Begins
November 27, 2007

If stem cell researchers were oil prospectors, it could be said that they struck a gusher last week. But to realize the potential boundless riches they now must figure out how to build refineries, pipelines and gas stations.

Biologists were electrified on Tuesday, when scientists in Japan and Wisconsin reported that they could turn human skin cells into cells that behave like embryonic stem cells, able to grow indefinitely and to potentially turn into any type of tissue in the body.
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Jesus Christ gets an evil twin in fantasy film
German filmmaker Robert Sigl plans to shoot the action flick in India.

From Reuters
November 26, 2007

There's no mention of him in the Bible but the plot of a fantasy film set in India gives Jesus Christ a twin brother -- and an evil one at that.German filmmaker Robert Sigl's "The 13th Disciple" is still in the planning stage but producer Mario Stefan is in India's western tourist state of Goa trying to attract an Indian co-producer for the project.

"It's a fantasy-adventure film and takes place completely in present-day India," Stefan said on the sidelines of the 38th International Film Festival of India, which opened over the weekend.
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First Jewish-Christian service at Westminster Abbey
Ruth Gledhill

Religion Correspondent of The Times
November 26, 2007

Westminster Abbey will hold its first ever Jewish-Christian service next weekend with a joint celebration of the festivals of Advent and Hanukkah.

Rabbi Mark Solomon of the liberal St John's Wood Synagogue and the Abbey's Canon Robert Reiss will do readings that will be interspersed with songs and carols from both faiths, and the lighting of candles.

The service, organised with the help of the Council of Christians, takes place next Sunday evening and is open to all members of the public.
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Controversial bishop taking message to NSU law school Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopalian appointed as a bishop, will speak at Nova Southeastern University on the topic of sexuality, morality and the law.
Posted on Tue, Nov. 27, 2007

Four years after the appointment of the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, tensions continue to mount within the Episcopal Church.

While some Episcopal dioceses are discussing breaking away from the church, the controversial bishop is traveling around the world to spread a peaceful and inclusive message.

His next stop -- South Florida, where a number of Episcopal leaders have shown their support of Bishop Gene Robinson.
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Canon Bishop Says National Church Has No Legal Claim To Church Properties

An exclusive interview with the Rt. Rev. William Wantland, the retired Bishop of Eau Claire. Bishop Wantland was bishop of the diocese from 1980 - 1999. He is a canon lawyer and lives with his wife in Oklahoma. He agreed to be interviewed by VirtueOnline about church property lawsuits, a number of which are making their way through various courts in the United States.

Interview at Virtueonline

Canada: Joint Anglican-Lutheran Commission reviews churches' relationship
November 26, 2007

From Nov. 22 to 25, the Joint Anglican-Lutheran Commission met in Toronto to review the Full Communion relationship between the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. The two churches have shared this unique relationship since the Waterloo Declaration of 2001, and now, six years later, they are assessing what they've accomplished and where they can go.

The recent communiqué (available
here) gives the broad strokes of a new, exciting vision, which includes shared congregational ministries and training for lay and ordained ministry. link

British teacher held over prophet 'insult'
Agence France-Presse

November 27, 2007

KHARTOUM, Sudan — A British teacher in Sudan yesterday faced lashes and deportation as she languished in police custody, accused of insulting the Muslim prophet for allowing young children to name a teddy bear Muhammad.

Sudanese police arrested Gillian Gibbons in Khartoum on Sunday after parents complained that she allowed 6-year-old boys and girls at an expensive English school to name the bear, and so "insult" the prophet Muhammad. the rest

Royal couple visit Islamic shrine
Monday, 26 November 2007

The royal couple visited the shrine of Mevlana Jalal al-Din al-RumiThe Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have visited the shrine of one of Islam's leading poets and philosophers.

The royal couple toured the shrine of Mevlana Jalal al-Din al-Rumi before watching the dance of the Whirling Dervishes in the Turkish city of Konya.

In an address, the prince called for a "rebalance of the East and West in ourselves" and urged people to look closely at the modern world's values. the rest

China sentences "underground" priest to 3-year term
Beijing, Nov. 26, 2007

( - A Chinese Catholic priest has been sentenced to a 3-year prison term for unauthorized religious activities-- pastoral work in the "underground" Church-- the AsiaNews service reports.

Father Wang Zhong of the Xiwanze diocese, in China's Hebei province, was prosecuted for consecrating a new parish church. Although he had a valid building permit from the government's religious-affairs bureau, the priest was evidently charged because he does not recognize the authority of the government-affiliated Catholic Patriotic Association.

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Filipino Christians testify mistreatment of brothers, sons and husbands

Porn leads to aggressive behavior
Gerrick Lewis

The adult film industry is a multi-billion dollar machine that has a growing presence in today's society. From the Internet to videos to cell phones, porn is accessible 24-hours a day - to virtually anyone who desires to indulge.

The industry has become more mainstream throughout the last decade, especially for college students. It is everywhere - and as evidenced by the 9,740,000 search results yielded by a Google search for college porn, college students are both a primary target and consumer.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

It is often supposed that when people stop believing in God, they believe in nothing. Alas, it is worse than that. When they stop believing in God, they believe in anything. ...GK Chesterton image

The Vatican’s Asian Vexation
Catholicism is thriving in the East. But for the Holy See, all roads to salvation must go through Rome.

By David Gibson NEWSWEEK
Dec 3, 2007 Issue

For nearly a quarter century before his election as pontiff,
Joseph Ratzinger served as the Vatican's guardian of Roman Catholic orthodoxy, earning a tough reputation for his campaign to quash the Marxist-tinged movement known as liberation theology. Cardinal Ratzinger's success in that crusade won him few plaudits in Latin America, the cradle of liberation theology and home to nearly half the world's 1.1 billion Roman Catholics. So in April 2005, when he was introduced to the world as Pope Benedict XVI, many feared the worst. Instead, the Pax Romana that Ratzinger helped impose on "the popular church" in Latin America, along with the end of Soviet communism, made increased Vatican pressure unnecessary and unlikely.

But now the focus of Benedict's anxieties—and Vatican sanctions—has shifted to
Asia, Catholicism's largest untapped market. At issue is the fear—for Rome— that too many Asian Catholics see other religions not only as bearers of truth, but as alternate pathways to salvation or spiritual insight. In Asia, God—or the gods—are everywhere, while Rome wants to stress the exclusivity of Catholicism. To Benedict, Asian theologians and church leaders are attempting to win converts by translating a Western religion—Christianity—into an Eastern idiom, relating Christ to Confucius, the Buddha or the variety of Hindu deities, transforming Jesus, as Benedict put it, into "one religious leader among others." To the Vatican hierarchy, says Thomas C. Fox, author of "Pentecost in Asia: A New Way of Being Church," the teachings of these theologians are "clearly unacceptable, even incomprehensible." the rest (h/t titusonenine)

Christianity’s Contribution
The Positive Effects of Religion

By Father John Flynn, LC
ROME, NOV. 26, 2007

( The avalanche of books on the merits and demerits of God and religion continues. One of the latest outlines many of the valuable contributions made by Christianity to society.

Dinesh D’Souza, a research scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, authored “What’s So Great About Christianity,” (Regnery Publishing). One of the biggest problems, he argued, is that many are ignorant about the role played for centuries by Christianity.

A common belief is that, after the high point of civilization during Greek and Roman times, the world was plunged into darkness during the Middle Ages, rescued only by the return to classical sources during the Renaissance. The next major advance was supposedly the Enlightenment, which opened up the doors to the modern age.
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San Joaquin: Valley Diocese Looking To Leave the American Episcopal Church

Church members on both sides are preparing for the upcoming church decision that could make history.

The theological split stems from the church's decision to ordain gay and female clergy.

"Someone who is involved in a single sex partner, as the Bishop of New Hampshire is, is going against scripture," said Bishop John David Schofield, San Joaquin Diocese.

The bishop of the San Joaquin diocese is one vote away from breaking away from the American based church which would be a first, but not all valley Episcopalians want the split.
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Politics of Race and Religion
Moral Issues Leave Black Evangelicals Torn Between Parties
By Krissah Williams
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 26, 2007

Pastor Harry R. Jackson Jr. will often exhort his congregation to "stand against" abortion and same-sex marriage. "You are on the battlefield in a culture war," he'll say, urging his listeners to help serve as the "moral compass of America."

In his rhetoric and his political agenda, Jackson has much in common with other evangelical Christians who are part of the conservative wing of the Republican party, except that Jackson is African American and so is his congregation at Hope Christian Church in Prince George's County.
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Philadelphia Mayor Presides Over Same-Sex 'Wedding'
By Randy Hall Staff Writer/Editor
November 26, 2007

( - Outgoing Philadelphia Mayor John Street officiated at his first same-sex commitment ceremony at City Hall on Saturday. A pro-family organization said the event marked a "dark day in the history of the City of Brotherly Love."

"Mayor Street has drifted off course during his political career. Once a strong advocate for traditional values, he can no longer be trusted to uphold those values that are supposedly part of his belief system," said Diane Gramley, president of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania (AFA-PA), in a news release.
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Rock of Ages, Ages of Rock
November 25, 2007

On a muggy afternoon in July, a group of geologists from around the country put on some bug spray and fanned out along one of Ohio’s richest fossil beds. The rock walls were slippery and steep at points, and some people came in their dress shoes straight from the conference that brought them together. But no one seemed daunted; when let loose on the rocks they behaved like children with a piñata, filling their pockets with local specimens and cooing over their treasure. “Ahh, that’s a beautiful brachiopod!” or “A fine trilobite! Let me see that.”

A brightly painted sign in the state park explained that 450 million years ago these ancient creatures lived at the bottom of a warm, shallow sea during the Ordovician period. But none of these geologists believed it. As young-earth creationists, they think the earth is about 8,000 years old, give or take a few thousand years. That’s about the amount of time conventional geology says it can take to form one inch of limestone.
the rest-NYT

Anglican Head Slams U.S. Foreign Policy
By Ethan Cole
Christian Post Reporter
Mon, Nov. 26 2007

The head of the Anglican Communion delivered his harshest criticism to date on U.S. foreign policy in Iraq in the latest issue of a British Muslim lifestyle magazine.

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams denounced the United States for its “quick burst of violent action” creating the “worst of all worlds” in his interview with Emel magazine.
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Anglican Archbishop Williams attacks US foreign policy

Rowan slated for attacking US foreign policy

TitusOneNine: Bishop Michael Ingham Writes his Clergy
Posted by Kendall Harmon
November 26, 2007

To: All Diocesan Clergy

From: Bishop Michael Ingham
Date: November 23, 2007
Subject: Individuals and Groups Leaving the Anglican Church of Canada

Dear Friends in Christ:

By now you will have heard the announcement from Burlington, Ontario, by the Essentials Network of a formal separation from the Canadian Church. You may well be asked about it this on Sunday and for some time to come, so I thought I would offer you my own preliminary reflections on what should be our principal responses.

First, this development, while not unexpected (the signs have been there for several years, see below) is both unwelcome and unnecessary. Unwelcome because it violates both the ancient traditions of our church and also the consistent urgings of Scripture for unity among Christians. Unnecessary because no Canadian Anglican is being compelled to act against their conscience in matters of doctrine or ethics, and so there is no need for ‘safety’ from ecclesiastical oppression.
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Richard Kew+
Is the worm turning?
Sunday, 25 November 2007

Excerpt: "In that one comment Blair summed up the way the British have been enculturated over several generations to assume that a forthright affirmation of Christian faith by anyone, whether they have influence or not, is a somewhat screw loose kind of thing. Richard Dawkins, whose book about God's apparent non-existence was ironically on the Christmas-buys shelf at Borders in Cambridge the other day when I was in there, plugs into that mentality and represents it at the elite end of the spectrum.

This notion that Britain and Europe have shed every last vestige of their Christian heritage is accepted all over the place as the right way of interpreting the facts, but I would suggest that folks should be a little more cautious before drawing such conclusions."
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BBC: Blair feared faith 'nutter' label

Survey: 7 of 10 Americans Prefer 'Merry Christmas' Over 'Happy Holidays'
By Lawrence Jones
Christian Post Reporter
Mon, Nov. 26 2007

When Americans go Christmas
shopping, many prefer to see stores use the traditional phrase “Merry Christmas” in their seasonal advertising rather than “Happy Holidays,” a new poll found.

The survey released by Rasmussen Reports after the Thanksgiving holiday showed that 67 percent of Americans favor “Merry Christmas” while only 26 percent would choose “Happy Holidays.”

The poll results were the same for men and women and presented few demographic differences.
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A Church-Based Hope for 'Adultolescents'
John Piper

Christian Smith, professor of sociology at Notre Dame, wrote in the most recent Books and Culture a review of six books that deal with the new phenomenon of “adultolescence”—that is, the postponement of adulthood into the thirties. I want to relate this phenomenon to the church. But first here is a summary from Smith’s article of what it is and how it came about.

What is Adultolescence?

Smith writes, “Teenager” and “adolescence” as representing a distinct stage of life were very much 20th-century inventions, brought into being by changes in mass education, child labor laws, urbanization and suburbanization, mass consumerism, and the media. Similarly, a new, distinct, and important stage in life, situated between the teenage years and full-fledged adulthood, has emerged in our culture in recent decades—reshaping the meaning of self, youth, relationships, and life commitments as well as a variety of behaviors and dispositions among the young. the rest photo

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Let us consider again the inscription placed above Christ: “This is the King of the Jews.” The onlookers challenged him to manifest his royalty openly and many, even among his friends, expected a spectacular demonstration of his kingship. But he chose only to show his kingship in his solicitousness for one man, who was, in fact, a criminal: “‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ He replied to him, ‘Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.'"

From this point of view, the most important question to ask on the feast of Christ the King is not whether he reigns in the world but whether he reigns in me; it is not whether his kingship is recognized by states and governments, but whether it is recognized and lived in me.

Is Christ the King and Lord of my life? Who rules in me, who determines the goals and establishes priorities: Christ or someone else? According to St. Paul, there are two ways to live: either for ourselves or for the Lord (Romans 14:7-9). Living “for ourselves” means living like someone who takes himself to be the beginning and the end; it is a life closed in on itself, drawn only by its own satisfaction and glory, without any perspective of eternity. Living “for the Lord,” on the contrary, means living for the Lord, that is, with a view to him, for his glory, for his kingdom.

What we have here is truly a new existence, in the face of which, death itself has lost its definitiveness. The greatest contradiction that man has always experienced -- that between life and death -- has been overcome. The contradiction is no longer between “living” and “dying” but between living “for ourselves” and living “for the Lord.”
By Father Raniero Cantalamessa art

Standard TV to Become Obsolete
By JR Dieckmann
Nov 24, 2007

On February 17, 2009 your standard TV will go blank. That is if you have not prepared for the conversion to digital TV and are still using an antenna to receive over the air broadcasts.

Congress has ruled that radio frequencies used by broadcast TV since it’s inception will be taken away from private broadcasters and some will be reassigned for use by emergency responders and other public safety agencies. The remaining available frequencies will be auctioned off to the highest bidder by the FCC. Auctioned off?
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TV switch could leave some with static