Friday, February 29, 2008

Our business is to present the Christian faith clothed in modern terms, not to propagate modern thought clothed in Christian terms. Confusion here is fatal. ...JI Packer image

The 8 Marks of a Robust Gospel
Reviving forgotten chapters in the story of redemption.

Scot McKnight

Our problems are not small. The most cursory glance at the newspaper will remind us of global crises like AIDS, local catastrophes of senseless violence, family failures, ecological threats, and church skirmishes. These problems resist easy solutions. They are robust—powerful, pervasive, and systemic.

Do we have a gospel big enough for these problems? Do we have the confidence to declare that these robust problems, all of which begin with sin against God and then creep into the world like cancer, have been conquered by a robust gospel? When I read the Gospels, I see a Lion of Judah who roared with a kingdom gospel that challenged both Israel's and Rome's mighty men, gathered up the sick and dying and made them whole, and united the purity-obsessed "clean" and the shame-laden "unclean" around one table. When I read the apostle Paul, I see a man who carried a gospel that he believed could save as well as unite Gentiles and barbarians with Abraham's sacred descendants. I do not think their gospel was too small.
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A Letter from Leslie Bentley About Dr. Jim Packer’s Situation
Posted by Kendall Harmon

February 29, 2008

I am the spokesperson for St. John's Shaughnessy Anglican Church in Vancouver. Dr. Packer has been an honourary assistant at St. John's for well over 20 years. We are a church in serious theological dispute with the Diocese of New Westminster which was the first diocese in the worldwide Anglican Communion to write a rite for the blessing of same sex unions and then allow them to happen. This is, of course, only a symptom of the underlying theological dispute which is currently ripping the worldwide communion apart.

Two weeks ago St. John's voted by a 97.7% margin to accept an offer of temporary emergency episcopal oversight from the Province of the Southern Cone under Archbishop Greg Venables. Dr. Packer strongly supported this move. To see Dr. Packer's specific views on the situation in the Anglican Church I encourage you to check out a YouTube posting where he discusses the issue with a reporter. You can find it on YouTube by searching for St. John's Shaughnessy. It is a 10 part video (115 minutes in all) with our rector, David Short, and Dr. Packer giving a very comprehensive explanation of the Anglican Church's situation right now.
the rest at TitusOneNine

Muslim Brotherhood backs Archbishop of Canterbury
Friday, 29th February 2008
George Conger

THE MUSLIM Brotherhood has lent its support to the Archbishop of Canterbury, denouncing Dr Rowan Williams’ critics for his suggestion that Sharia law in Britain was “unavoidable.”

The International Union for Muslim Scholars, led by Yousef al-Qaradawi, stated it “received with much surprise the fierce attack that has been launched against Dr Rowan Williams” for his lecture at the Temple Church on aspects of Sharia and British law.
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'Breakaway' Anglican churches may continue services: judge
Friday, February 29, 2008

A judge in Hamilton, Ont., has granted an interim order to two "breakaway" Anglican churches that will allow them to continue to hold services without having to share the facilities with members of the established church.

Congregations in St. George's Anglican Church in Lowville, Ont., and St. Hilda's Anglican Church in Oakville, Ont., voted to break away from the established church over theological issues. the rest

Short-term court victory for breakaway Anglican churches in Niagara

Anglican churches remain split

Primate speaks on Church unity

Statement by Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada
February 29, 2008

Dear Friends, as you know, in recent weeks there have been a few parishes across our beloved church that have had meetings and serious discussions that have resulted in decisions to withdraw from the Anglican Church of Canada. With you, I am saddened by these developments because they represent a fracture in the body of Christ and a break in our fellowship, one with another.

As we hear the reporting around these developments, there is repeated reference to the blessing of same-sex unions as the tipping issue in what is described as a crisis in faith, within the Anglican Church of Canada. My conviction is that we can only challenge that kind of rhetoric by the fact that across this land, you and thousands of other Anglicans gather week by week to hear once again, the story of the loving purposes of God through history and in the fullness of time through Christ and in those same gatherings, to confess the divinity and the lordship of Jesus Christ as we recite the Creed and celebrate the Eucharist week by week.
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Million$ to pro-homosexual groups bad news for Christians, says activist
Jim Brown

Pro-family activist Peter LaBarbera warns that a $65 million endowment given to several groups that promote the homosexual lifestyle will be used in their efforts to "criminalize" Christian opposition to their agenda.
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Canada Catholic Bishop Will Deny Politicians Communion if They Support Abortion
by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 28, 2008

Ottawa, Canada ( -- A top Catholic official in Canada is encouraging elected officials of the Catholic faith to turn from their pro-abortion views if they want to continue receiving communion. Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast says he will first speak with politicians who support abortion and encourage them to convert to the pro-life perspective.
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Obama: If elected I will use the bully pulpit for gay community
Feb 28, 2008
by Michael Foust

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama sought the support of voters in the homosexual community Feb. 28, telling them in a letter that if elected president he would work to pass laws important to that constituency and would use the "bully pulpit" to urge states to grant same-sex couples the legal benefits of marriage.

The 770-word letter was posted on a section of Obama's campaign website devoted to homosexual issues. He and Hillary Clinton have worked for months to get the votes of the homosexual community, even appearing in August at a historic Democratic presidential forum devoted solely to homosexual issues.
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Obama: "Biggest Mistake" Was Vote to Help Terri Schiavo

Barack Obama's Catholic Problem

Obama pledged to Planned Parenthood: “I will not yield” to pro-life concerns

August 2007: Obama campaign revealed its new LGBT council. No-one really notable on the list, other than Episcopalean [sic]bishop Gene Robinson, but its a long one. here

CANA Bishop Minns Addresses the ADV Congregations
February 27, 2008

Dear Friends,

I'm writing to you all to express my gratitude for your faithful witness as we have embarked on this journey together to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ during one of the most challenging periods in the history of the Anglican Communion. We have experienced those challenges not only within the global communion, but particularly right here in Virginia. Your sacrificial giving in supporting the work of ministry through your time, your talents, and your financial resources is a powerful witness to the world of your dedication to Jesus Christ and to the work of His church. Your devotion to the integrity of a biblical witness is a testimony of steadfast faith in Christ in a time of great challenge.

As you know, CANA continues to grow at a remarkable rate. In the past year alone we have quadrupled in size and we continue to receive and plant new congregations. Here in Virginia, the CANA and Ugandan congregations of the Anglican District of Virginia continue to reach out with Christ's love to preach the Gospel, to serve one another, to extend a warm hand of fellowship to our communities, and to celebrate the sovereignty and faithfulness of our God as we go from strength to strength.

You also know that another milestone is soon to be upon us. I ask you all to be in prayer and preparation for the time when we receive the decision from Judge Bellows in Fairfax Circuit Court. We expect him to rule on the applicability and constitutionality of Virginia Statue 57-9 under which we filed reports of votes to sever ties with The Episcopal Church. As you remember, following those filings we entered into negotiations with the Diocese of Virginia based on the protocol unanimously recommend by a committee chartered by Bishop Lee. TEC forced the Diocese to break off those negotiations and to file suits against all 11 churches, their rectors, and vestries. We expect Judge Bellows ruling at any time.

Judge Bellows has signaled he could rule in one of three ways, either that:

1. There has been a division and the 57-9 statute is constitutional.
2. There has been a division and the 57-9 statute is unconstitutional.
3. There has been no division and so that 57-9 statute does not apply.

As you can see, each possible ruling will require responses from us as well as from the Diocese of Virginia and The Episcopal Church. Whichever way he rules, we must bear in mind that this will be only one of a number of issues on which he will likely ultimately rule, and we must stay focused on our ministry and mission. Thanks to the Lord and to your support and prayers, we are ready for all three possibilities.

Last week I asked Jim Oakes, Vice Chair of the Anglican District of Virginia, to gather some leaders together from the CANA churches in the ADV to pray and plan for our next steps. John Yates, the rector of The Falls Church, opened our time together with a reading from Habakkuk 3:

The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights.

I can assure you that we will continue to seek the Lord in providing for our needs as we earnestly ask Him for His help. He works through you as you continue to pledge and give to this very public witness of standing firm for the Gospel and for the integrity of His Word. We also hear from friends in other denominations in Virginia and around the United States who support and pray for us, knowing that the decisions and actions here will be felt beyond our own denomination. We appreciate the prayers and financial support that comes from inside and outside our denomination. We are not alone.

Please pray as we await this first decision. Pray for Judge Bellows in the great responsibility he's been given to make this first decision. Pray for the legal team and the CANA churches leadership as we respond to this first decision.

And pray for Bishop Lee and the Diocese of Virginia as they also respond to the decisions of the court. Pray for all the churches in the ADV that we may, even through difficult times, continue to trust the Lord with our future, being assured that He will not let us go. Pray that we will continue to seek Him first and His righteousness, eager to stand in the gap and eager to forgive.

As soon as Judge Bellows hands down this first decision, all the ADV churches will be notified. We have been blessed by a remarkable legal team and we are grateful for their diligent preparation for this decision and the work ahead. May the Lord bless you and keep you as we solemnly observe this season of Lent, looking forward to that day when we celebrate His victory through the cross.

Angela and Rachel and I keep you in our prayers. We are confident that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

The Sovereign LORD is our strength. May He, indeed, make our feet like the feet of deer, enabling us to go on to the heights together and for His sake. Amen.

Your brother in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns
Missionary Bishop of C.A.N.A.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

BREAKING: JI Packer threatened with suspension
Michael Daley on Feb-28-2008

As evidence of the escalating crisis in the global Anglican Communion, today one of the of the world’s most esteemed Christian theologians, Dr. J.I. Packer, received a letter threatening suspension from ministry by the controversial Bishop of New Westminster, Michael Ingham. Bishop Ingham accused Dr. Packer, hailed by Time Magazine as the “doctrinal Solomon” of Christian thinkers, “to have abandoned the exercise of ministry” after the church where he is a member voted to separate from the diocese and join the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone under the oversight of Anglican Archbishop Gregory Venables. Dr. Packer, who was ordained in the Church of England, is the author of the Christian classic, “Knowing God,” and joined Billy Graham and Richard John Neuhaus as one of Time Magazine’s 25 most influential evangelicals in 2005.

Dr. Packer, who received his theological education at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, was ordained a deacon (1952) and priest (1953) in the Church of England. He was Assistant Curate of Harborne Heath in Birmingham 1952-54 and Lecturer at Tyndale Hall, Bristol 1955-61. He was Librarian of Latimer House, Oxford 1961-62 and Principal 1962-69. In 1970 he became Principal of Tyndale Hall, Bristol, and from 1971 until 1979 he was Associate Prinicipal of Trinity College, Bristol. In addition to his published works, he has served as general editor for the English Standard Version of the Bible. He currently serves as the Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia.

He will be 82 in July.
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Comments at TitusOneNine

Comments at Stand Firm

The death of Christ on the cross was no imitation death or charade. It is presented to us by the Gospel writers because they want us to face death, to confront it - so that we will be prepared for real Life! The Hebrews when they were in Egypt were saved from the angel of death and destruction by marking the door-posts of their houses with the blood of a lamb, so we are marked with the life-giving sign of the cross, stained with the blood of the Lamb of God. The Cross then is the victory sign of every Christian. It is the powerful and defiant banner under which we journey to the safety of our proper homeland, for death has been conquered – and Christ has destroyed its fear through the Cross. ...David Charlesworth image

Muslim scholars’ letter to the “Jewish community”

Some Muslim intelelctuals write to the world’s Jewish community as others did back in October to Christian leaders. Signatories emphasise their commitment to improving and increasing mutual respect and understanding with members of other religions.

Lahore (AsiaNews/Agencies) – An international group of Muslim scholars has sent another unprecedented letter, this time to the world’s Jewish community, a step that Sheikh Michael Mumisa, called a gesture of reconciliation that seeks to bring relief to people still smarting from open wounds, the result of hatred and misunderstanding between Jews and Muslims, sentiments that in some parts of the world have turned into violence and conflict.
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Muslim leaders write 'harmony' letter to Jews

Medical Journal: Adult Stem Cell Research Trumps Embryonic in Helping Patients
by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 27, 2008

Washington, DC ( -- A new article in the Journal of the American Medical Association makes it clear adult stem cell research is leading the way in providing tangible assistant to patients with a variety of ailments. The article validates bioethicists who have said the use of adult stem cells can treat a wide variety of diseases already.

Richard K. Burt, M.D., of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and colleagues conducted a review of articles on both types of stem cell research.
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China may scrap one-child policy, official says
Thu Feb 28, 2008

BEIJING (Reuters) - China, worried about an ageing population, is studying scrapping its controversial one-child policy but will not do away with family-planning policies altogether, a senior official said on Thursday.

With the world's biggest population straining scarce land, water and energy resources, China has enforced rules to restrict family size since the 1970s. Rules vary but usually limit families to one child, or two in the countryside.

"We want incrementally to have this change," Vice Minister of the National Population and Family Planning Commission Zhao Baige told reporters in Beijing.
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British Bishop Refuses to Back Down on Islamist Threat
By Mark D. Tooley
Thursday, February 28, 2008

In January, Church of England Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali ignited Islamic protests when he asserted that some areas of British cities have become “no-go” zones for non-Muslims.

Now under police protection after receiving death threats, Nazir-Ali refused to back down this past Sunday in an interview with The Telegraph of Britain. The ethnically Pakistani Nazir-Ali has also criticized the remarks earlier this month by his superior, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who suggested Islamic law possibly should have civil authority in Britain .

Nazir-Ali asked The Sunday Telegraph: "Do the British people really want to lose that rooting in the Christian faith that has given them everything they cherish - art, literature, architecture, institutions, the monarchy, their value system, their laws?"
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Congressmen Call for Defunding Planned Parenthood
By Penny Starr Senior Staff Writer
February 28, 2008

( - After reviewing materials posted on Planned Parenthood's Web site at the request of Cybercast News Service, three House Republicans are calling for the termination of Planned Parenthood's federal funding. Among other things, teenwire promotes the use of pornography by teenagers.

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R.-Colo.) said teenwire "is another reason we should pull all federal funding from Planned Parenthood," a group that also performs abortions.
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Investigation Finds Racism at Planned Parenthood

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 27 /
Standard Newswire/ -- A student magazine at UCLA, The Advocate, released phone recordings of Planned Parenthood staffers approving a donor's racist agenda, prompting students to begin a petition to request that UCLA administrators cut programs and affiliations with Planned Parenthood. The magazine conducted a seven-state probe to ascertain how Planned Parenthood development centers would respond to a caller who expressed explicitly racist motives behind his donation.

An actor, posing as a racist donor, called Planned Parenthood development centers and asked that his donation be used to abort African American babies in order to "lower the number of black people." Each branch agreed to process the racially earmarked donation, with some encouraging the racist motive behind it. None expressed concern about the racist reasoning for the donation.
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Africa's lesbians demand change
By Joanna Jolly BBC News
Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Homosexuality remains taboo across much of AfricaLesbians from across Africa have called on African governments to stop treating homosexuals like criminals.

The demand came as about 75 activists gathered at a conference in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique.
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Bishop of Toronto: Anglican Church is doing just fine
Feb 28, 2008
Re:Anglicans fight over parish

Crisis in the Anglican Church of Canada? I think not! While it is always a matter of great regret when anyone chooses to leave, surely recent reports of schism in Canada need some context. Of the approximately 2,300 parishes in Canada, about 15 have voted to "walk apart."

The Diocese of Toronto continues to welcome clergy and people of conservative and liberal persuasion, as well as people – the majority – for whom such labels make no sense. We are committed to building communities of hope and compassion. We continue to offer faithful worship of God, to nurture young and old, to help form moral lives, to comfort the sick and grieving, and to work with and advocate on behalf of the poor.

The Right Rev. Colin R. Johnson,
Bishop of Toronto

Priest suspended in same-sex dispute; Anglican clergyman of breakaway church disciplined

Reverend Carl Reid answers readers' questions about the Anglican split

IRS Investigates Obama's Denomination
By Rachel Zoll
Associated Press Writer
Wed, Feb. 27 2008

The IRS is investigating the United Church of Christ over a speech Sen. Barack Obama gave at its national meeting last year after he became a candidate for president, the denomination said Tuesday.

Obama, an Illinois Democrat, belongs to the 1.2 million-member Protestant group through his Chicago congregation.

In a letter the denomination received Monday, the IRS said "reasonable belief exists" that the circumstances surrounding the speech violated restrictions on political activity for tax-exempt organizations. The denomination has denied any wrongdoing.
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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

But, you object, a heart like mine can offer Christ so little - at best, so poor and pinched and stingey a hospitality and such meagre fare; for I have nothing worthy of Him to set before Him, only a kind of affection, real enough at times, but which, at others, can and does so easily forget; only a will, quite unreliable, deplorably unstable; only a faith that is the merest shadow of what His real friends mean when they speak about faith, I know. But, there was once a garret up under the roof, a poor, bare place enough. There was a table in it, and there were some benches, and a water-pot; a towel, and a basin in behind the door, but not much else- a bare, unhomelike room. But the Lord Christ entered into it. And, from that moment, it became the holiest of all, where souls innumerable ever since have met the Lord God, in High glory, face to face. And, if you give Him entrance to that very ordinary heart of yours, it too He will transform and sanctify and touch with a splendour of glory. ...AJ Gossip image

In First, N.Y. Judge Allows Gay Divorce
Trial Court Ruling Appears to Be State's First Allowing Divorce From Same-Sex Marriage
Feb. 26, 2008

In what appears to be the first ruling of its kind, a New York judge will allow a lesbian couple who married in Canada to sue for divorce.

Though New York does not allow same-sex marriages, a state trial court judge refused to dismiss a divorce and child custody suit brought by a woman, identified only as Beth R., against her former partner Donna M.
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Southern Cone Primate to visit Fort Worth Diocese
Feb. 27, 2008

Archbishop Gregory Venables, Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, has accepted an invitation from Bishop Iker to make a pastoral visit to the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth during the first weekend of May. He will be accompanied by his wife, Sylvia.

On Friday, May 2, Archbishop Venables will meet with all the clergy of the Diocese at the Church of the Holy Apostles, and then on Saturday, May 3, he will address a specially-called Convocation of the 2008 convention delegates at St. Vincent’s Cathedral. The purpose of the convocation is to provide information: Archbishop Venables will answer questions from the delegates, but no legislation will be considered. On Sunday, May 4, Archbishop Venables will preach in the morning at the Cathedral, and on Sunday evening at St. Andrew’s Church in downtown Fort Worth. Question-and-answer forums will follow the services at both churches.
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Matt Kennedy+: Centralizing Power in the Diocese of Louisiana
February 27, 2008

According to this proposed canonical change, a congregation in the parish of "West Baton Rouge" in the suburbs or outskirts of the city of Baton Rouge could not sponsor or initiate any ministry related work whatsoever in the parish of "East Baton Rouge," which is where downtown Baton Rouge lies, without the consent of the bishop or the "Ecclesiastical Authority". Given the absolute nature of the language of the proposed canon, that would mean that members of a congregation in West Baton Rouge who live in East Baton Rouge could not so much as form a congregationally supported or sponsored bible study group or a prayer group in East Baton Rouge. The congregation itself could not open a downtown soup kitchen or help with disaster relief. They could not do any ministry at all without the bishop's consent or in the absence of a bishop, the consent of the Standing Committee.
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Million$ to pro-homosexual groups bad news for Christians, says activist
Jim Brown OneNewsNow

Pro-family activist Peter LaBarbera warns that a $65 million endowment given to several groups that promote the homosexual lifestyle will be used in their efforts to "criminalize" Christian opposition to their agenda.

The Pride Foundation of Seattle announced on Sunday that Ric Weiland -- one of the first five people to work at software giant Microsoft -- has left $19 million of his estate to the homosexual activist group, and an additional $46 million for the Foundation to distribute to ten other pro-homosexuality groups, including the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Network, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).
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William F. Buckley Jr. Dies at 82
Feb 27, 2008
AP National Writer

NEW YORK (AP) - William F. Buckley Jr., the erudite Ivy Leaguer and conservative herald who showered huge and scornful words on liberalism as he observed, abetted and cheered on the right's post-
World War II rise from the fringes to the White House, died Wednesday. He was 82.

His assistant Linda Bridges said Buckley was found dead by his cook at his home in Stamford, Conn. The cause of death was unknown, but he had been ill with emphysema, she said.
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TLC: Switch to Southern Cone by San Joaquin Appears to Violate Canons of New Province
February 26, 2008

The newly available English-language translation of the canons and constitution of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone indicates several inconsistencies with moves by dioceses to switch their affiliation from The Episcopal Church to the South American-based province.

The situation seems especially complicated for the Diocese of San Joaquin which already approved the switch at its annual convention last December. Article two of the Southern Cone constitution limits membership in the province to dioceses “that exist or which may be formed in the Republics of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay and which voluntary declare themselves as integral diocesan members of the province.” Article four of the constitution requires that amendments “be submitted to the Anglican Consultative Council for consideration and then to each diocesan synod for approval.”
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Comments at TitusOneNine

Too much pleasure, too few children

Civilization depends on the health of the traditional family.

That sentiment has become a truism among social conservatives, who typically can't explain what they mean by it. Which is why it sounds like right-wing boilerplate to many contemporary ears.

The late Harvard sociologist Carle C. Zimmerman believed it was true, but he also knew why. In 1947, he wrote a massive book to explain why latter-day Western civilization was now living through the same family crisis that presaged the fall of classical Greece and Rome. His classic "Family and Civilization," which has just been republished in an edited version by ISI Press, is a chillingly prophetic volume that deserves a wide new audience.
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Canada: Two churches ask to offer same-sex blessings
Moratorium still in place in New Westminster

Solange De Santisstaff writer
Feb 26, 2008

As four churches voted in February to leave the Vancouver-based diocese of New Westminster and the Anglican Church of Canada over changing attitudes toward homosexuality, two churches asked to be able to join eight other parishes in offering blessing ceremonies to same-sex couples.

Church of the Holy Spirit in Whonnock and St. Mary Kerrisdale, B.C., passed motions at their vestries (annual meetings) that asked for permission to perform the ceremonies if and when diocesan bishop Michael Ingham lifts a moratorium limiting permission to the eight parishes.
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Temperature Monitors Report Widescale Global Cooling
Michael Asher
February 26, 2008

World Temperatures according to the Hadley Center for Climate Prediction. Note the steep drop over the last year.Twelve-month long drop in world temperatures wipes out a century of warmingOver the past year, anecdotal evidence for a cooling planet has exploded. China has its coldest winter in 100 years. Baghdad sees
its first snow in all recorded history. North America has the most snowcover in 50 years, with places like Wisconsin the highest since record-keeping began. Record levels of Antarctic sea ice, record cold in Minnesota, Texas, Florida, Mexico, Australia, Iran, Greece, South Africa, Greenland, Argentina, Chile -- the list goes on and on.

No more than anecdotal evidence, to be sure. But now, that evidence has been supplanted by hard scientific fact. All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA's GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously.
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What to do when compact fluorescents crack
February 26, 2008

Compact fluorescent lamps contain small amounts of toxic mercury that can vaporize when the bulbs break, creating a potential health risk for infants, young children, and pregnant women.
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Turkey in radical revision of Islamic texts
By Robert Pigott
Religious affairs correspondent, BBC News

Turkey is preparing to publish a document that represents a revolutionary reinterpretation of Islam - and a controversial and radical modernisation of the religion.

The country's powerful Department of Religious Affairs has commissioned a team of theologians at Ankara University to carry out a fundamental revision of the Hadith, the second most sacred text in Islam after the Koran.

The Hadith is a collection of thousands of sayings reputed to come from the Prophet Muhammad.
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Ruth Gledhill: Islam 'reformation' imminent

Automated killer robots 'threat to humanity': expert
Feb 27, 2008

Increasingly autonomous, gun-totting robots developed for warfare could easily fall into the hands of terrorists and may one day unleash a robot arms race, a top expert on artificial intelligence told AFP.

"They pose a threat to humanity," said University of Sheffield professor Noel Sharkey ahead of a keynote address Wednesday before Britain's Royal United Services Institute.

Intelligent machines deployed on battlefields around the world -- from mobile grenade launchers to rocket-firing drones -- can already identify and lock onto targets without human help.
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Largest earthquake in two decades hits UK
By Julian Kossoff and Tom Chivers

The largest earthquake to hit Britain for almost quarter of a century was felt across large parts of England in the early hours of this morning.

Tremors were felt in areas including Merseyside, Birmingham, Leicestershire, Bedfordshire, Northampton, Norfolk, Surrey and Greater London - including the offices of, near Victoria Station. The five-second tremor struck at 00.55am.
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Washington NARAL Director Admits Abortion, 'Hard for Women," Won't Say Why
by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 26, 2008

Olympia, WA ( -- The Washington affiliate of NARAL issued the results of
a new study earlier this month complaining that not all pharmacies in the state stock the morning after pill or have pharmacists willing to dispense the drug. The writers of a pro-life blog contacted the director of the group, who made some rather surprising comments about abortion.

The writers at Abortion in Washington talked with NARAL Washington director Karen Cooper.
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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

They Love Jesus; They Don’t Like the Church!
By S. Michael Craven
Christian Post Guest Columnist
Tue, Feb. 26 2008

This appears to be a growing sentiment among many younger Christians in America today. They love Jesus but they want little to do with His Church. It’s not that they don’t like the their local church or even other Christians—it’s that they don’t like how Christianity in America is frequently represented by many professing Evangelicals, which in their minds is often unloving, judgmental, arrogant, and hypocritical.

This assertion finds support in the data revealed in Barna’s most recent research. For example, “four out of five young churchgoers say that Christianity is antihomosexual; half describe it as judgmental, too involved in politics, hypocritical, and confusing; one-third believe their faith is old-fashioned and out of touch with reality; and one-quarter of young Christians believe it is boring and insensitive to others.” (Kinnamon & Lyons, unChristian, Baker Books, 2007, pp.33-34)

Those outside the Church hold increasingly negative views of Christians as well. Among young people (aged 16-29), roughly 49 percent hold an “extraordinarily negative” view of evangelical Christians and only 3 percent have a “good” impression!
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Is Cable TV Killing Christ?
Jeremy Halcrow
25 February 2008

Easter week 2006, Australia woke to front page news that a new gospel written by Judas Iscariot had been discovered that would blow the Bible’s version of Jesus’ death out of the water.
The respected National Geographic no less would be releasing a cable TV documentary, a special magazine edition and a three-book deal unveiling the find.

Sunrise presenter David Koch took the news seriously enough to ask co-host Natalie Barr if this evidence would shake her faith.

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Breakaway parishes gird for possible legal costs
February 26, 2008

A group of people in Vancouver has committed to underwrite up to $1-million for a legal fund set up by the Anglican Network in Canada to defend breakaway parishes that refuse to hand over their keys to the Anglican Church of Canada.

Cheryl Chang, a director and a lawyer for the Anglican Network, declined yesterday to disclose the names of donors.

"They haven't actually made the donation at this stage, but they have agreed that if the money is needed they will commit to underwrite it," she said. "They are a group of individuals who go to church and are interested in Christianity and are interested in groups that are willing to stand up for the gospel." the rest

Anglicans fight over parish properties

Ravi Zacharias: Are moral values necessary in Politics?

Huron Diocese: Anglican split not expected here
About 15 congregations have voted to leave the Anglican Church of Canada.

February 26,2008

A flurry of disaffected congregations is leaving the Anglican Church of Canada, but the bishop representing Southwestern Ontario churches doesn't expect a split to take place here.

About 15 churches have voted to split from the Anglican Church of Canada, mostly those wanting the church to definitively reject same-sex unions.
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Kathleen Parker: The ecstasy of Barack
For the young, the force is with Obi-Wan Obama

Washington Post Writer's Group
February 24, 2008

Excerpt: "It is thus no surprise that the young are enamored of Obama. He's a rock star. A telegenic, ultra-bright redeemer fluent in the planetary language of a cosmic generation. The force is with him.

But underpinning that popularity is something that transcends mere policy or politics. It is hunger, and that hunger is clearly spiritual. Human beings seem to have a yearning for the transcendent -- hence thousands of years of religion -- but we have lately shied away from traditional approaches and old gods.

Thus, in post-Judeo-Christian America, the sports club is the new church. Global warming is the new religion. Vegetarianism is the new sacrament. Hooking up, the new prayer. Talk therapy, the new witnessing. Tattooing and piercing, the new sacred symbols and rituals.

And apparently, Barack Obama is the new messiah."
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Islamic Links on Obama Web Site Stir Criticism

TLC: House of Bishops will Address ‘Bishops in Communion’ Plan
February 25, 2008

Four diocesan bishops met with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori Feb. 21 to outline an “Anglican Bishops in Communion” plan that was developed in consultation with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

The plan builds upon the “Episcopal Visitor” concept announced last fall by Bishop Jefferts Schori, according to the Rt. Rev. John W. Howe, Bishop of Central Florida, who was one of the group that met with the Presiding Bishop. The existence of the plan was reported Feb. 22 by the British Telegraph newspaper. Bishop Howe subsequently released a summary of the plan and a partial correction of the Telegraph article. The actual plan has not been released.
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Death of Illinois Woman's Fetus Declared a Homicide
By Thaddeus M. Baklinski
February 25, 2008

( - A coroner's jury has determined that the death of an Illinois woman's unborn child was a homicide because of the woman's use of illegal drugs, reports the Belleville News-Democrat.

An autopsy on 26-year-old Alicia Tucker's stillborn baby revealed cocaine and amphetamines in the child's system. Tucker was eight months pregnant at the time. The doctor who treated Tucker told the inquest that the "fetus died due to a placental abruption (premature separation of the placenta from the wall of the uterus), which can be caused by cocaine use."
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Teens losing touch with common cultural and historical references
By Greg Toppo

Big Brother. McCarthyism. The patience of Job.

Don't count on your typical teenager to nod knowingly the next time you drop a reference to any of these. A study out today finds that about half of 17-year-olds can't identify the books or historical events associated with them.

Twenty-five years after the federal report A Nation at Risk challenged U.S. public schools to raise the quality of education, the study finds high schoolers still lack important historical and cultural underpinnings of "a complete education." And, its authors fear, the nation's current focus on improving basic reading and math skills in elementary school might only make matters worse, giving short shrift to the humanities even if children can read and do math.
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German Politician Blames Communism for Child Killings
February 25, 2008

Cases of mothers killing their children occur almost monthly in Germany, and people are starting to ask why. A state governor has caused outrage by suggesting it may be the legacy of East Germany's communist rule, which has given women there what he describes as "a more casual approach to new life."
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UK: MPs investigate Catholic influence on [Catholic] schools
By Richard Garner, Education Editor
Saturday, 23 February 2008

A Commons select committee is to investigate evidence that the Roman Catholic Church is pursuing a more fundamentalist approach towards religion in its schools.

Members of the Children, Schools and Families Committee plan to call senior bishops to give evidence in an inquiry into the approach schools are adopting towards a range of issues – including abortion, sex education and PSHE (personal and social health education) classes.

The move comes after a 66-page circular from the Bishop of Lancaster, Patrick O'Donoghue, instructed Catholic schools in the North-west to stop "safe sex" education and place crucifixes in every classroom.

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Survey: US Religious Landscape in Flux
By ERIC GORSKI AP Religion Writer
Feb 25, 2008

The U.S. religious marketplace is extremely volatile, with nearly half of American adults leaving the faith tradition of their upbringing to either switch allegiances or abandon religious affiliation altogether, a new survey finds.

The study released Monday by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life is unusual for it sheer scope, relying on interviews with more than 35,000 adults to document a diverse and dynamic U.S. religious population.

While much of the study confirms earlier findings - mainline Protestant churches are in decline, non-denominational churches are gaining and the ranks of the unaffiliated are growing - it also provides a deeper look behind those trends, and of smaller religious groups.
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Catholic tradition fading in U.S.

Albert Mohler: America's Changing Religious Landscape

Monday, February 25, 2008

If there be anything that can render the soul calm, dissipate its scruples and dispel its fears, sweeten its sufferings by the anointing of love, impart strength to all its actions, and spread abroad the joy of the Holy Spirit in its countenance and words, it is this simple and childlike repose in the arms of God.
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On Rowan Williams
By Martin E. Marty
Christian Post Guest Contributor
Mon, Feb. 25 2008

The Church of England today is a weak institution with a strong leader.

Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, though given few official powers, uses his office and voice in efforts to hold together the polarized eighty-million-member Anglican Communion. He is also a first-rate theologian and respected moral philosopher. So when he speaks, many pay attention. He spoke this month and many listened and reacted.

As is well known, on February 7 he made a statement which some found outrageous, others merely provocative, still others realistic, and still still others a well-intended effort to reduce religious tensions in Britain. Was he "throwing in the towel" in the face of a growing and sometimes militant Islamic presence there, or reaching out as people in the biblical tradition should to "the stranger in their midst"?
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Richard Kew+: "Rowan Williams is a Wimp"
-- or is he?
February 24, 2008

I confess to being very disappointed when Rowan Williams was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, but as is too often the case I made my judgments about him prematurely and on the basis of limited (or even flawed) information. Perhaps I am a contrarian, but as the general opinion of the leading inhabitant of Lambeth Palace has tended to slip my attitude toward him has been one of increased admiration. That is not to say that I am in agreement of all that he does and says, but I respect the manner that he has attempted to remain faithful to the radical teaching of Jesus Christ while steering his ways through today's impossible and polarized landscape.

At times I am stunned at the accusations made against him, for many of them just do not stand up under careful cross-examination. I suspect that the vast majority those who yell the loudest or throw the smelliest eggs at him have neither listened to what he is saying nor read with care what he writes. I suspect that Rowan himself would not be very patience with those who take his every word as gospel, but I suspect also it must irritate him no end when people attack him for things he neither is nor has said. While he is warm in personal conversation, welcoming, and has a tremendous consideration for those who come into contact with him, he is also one of the most significant minds of our time -- certainly there hasn't been an Archbishop like him since the time of Michael Ramsey (and Ramsey did not have to deal with such a predatory press as that which savages Rowan on a regular basis).

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Anglican maneuvers
by Sam Wells
February 26, 2008

Book review: Anglican Communion in Crisis: How Episcopalian Dissidents and Their African Allies Are Reshaping Anglicanism

The opening in July 1998 of the 13th Lambeth Conference of 800 bishops of the Anglican Communion was an exuberant celebration of multiculturalism, a Eucharist of rejoicing in the many tongues and the crackling fire of a new Pentecost.

But all was not as it seemed. The conference can now be seen as a momentous changing of the guard, when an unlikely coalition emerged, a coalition whose cocktail of scriptural ingenuousness and political sophistication has since come to dominate global Anglicanism.

the rest (published last year, but just found this review)

Forget global warming: Welcome to the new Ice Age
Lorne Gunter, National Post
Monday, February 25, 2008

Snow cover over North America and much of Siberia, Mongolia and China is greater than at any time since 1966.

The U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reported that many American cities and towns suffered record cold temperatures in January and early February. According to the NCDC, the average temperature in January "was -0.3 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average."
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Feast of St. Matthias

Almighty God, who in the place of Judas chose your faithful servant Matthias to be numbered among the Twelve: Grant that your Church, being delivered from false apostles, may always be guided and governed by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Acts 1: 15-26
Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said, "Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus-- for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry." (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. This became known to all the residents of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their language Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) "For it is written in the book of Psalms,

`Let his homestead become desolate,
and let there be no one to live in it';


`Let another take his position of overseer.'

So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us-- one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection." So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed and said, "Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place." And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.

Bishop endorses new traditionalist programme
Monday, 25th February 2008
By: George Conger

US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has endorsed a programme of alternative Episcopal oversight brought to her by a group of conservative American bishops.

The ‘Anglican Bishops in Communion’ seeks to merge the Primates’ Dar es Salaam pastoral council scheme with the ‘Episcopal Visitor’ programme created by Bishop Schori in a bid to hold the fissiparous elements of American Anglicanism together until an Anglican Covenant is agreed.

“This is a step forward, albeit a small one,” the Bishop of Central Florida, the Rt Rev John W Howe noted, that permits freedom of conscience for traditionalists while preserving good order in conformance to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church. the rest

Anita Renfroe: Did You Hear the One About the Christian Comedian?
February 24, 2008

If you are a mother with children between the ages of, say, 5 and 55, you have probably been the recipient — once, twice, maybe even more times — of an e-mail message directing you to a particular YouTube clip. The grainy film features a somewhat ordinary looking woman of indeterminate age with longish red hair who is wearing glasses, slacks and a leather jacket. She stands on a stage next to a piano and grasps a microphone and, like a magician introducing her next trick, explains that she will condense into 2 minutes and 55 seconds “what a mom would say in a 24-hour period.” Then she looks down, clasps her hands, looks up and, as the familiar horns of the “William Tell Overture” sound, declares: “Strap on your seatbelt. Here we go.” Then she starts to sing, with a slight Southern accent, at breakneck speed:

Get up now
Get up now
Get up out of bed
Wash your face
Brush your teeth
Comb your sleepy head. . .

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Pro-anorexia site clampdown urged
Sunday, 24 February 2008

Campaigners are calling for social networking websites, such as Facebook and MySpace, to clamp down on pro-anorexia sites.

Doctors at one of the country's largest eating disorders treatment centres said they needed to act more responsibly.

The eating disorders charity, B-eat, said little progress had been made on combating "pro-ana" sites.
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The Archbishop and Sharia
By Chuck Colson

What Empty Churches Are Made of

There are an estimated 1.6 million Muslims in Great Britain. By some estimates, more people attend mosque than go to Anglican churches every week. Judging by recent comments by the Archbishop of Canterbury, it is easy to see why.

As most of you by now know, Archbishop Rowan William said in a recent interview that the “UK has to ‘face up to the fact’ that some of its citizens do not relate to the British legal system.” He left no doubt who those “citizens” are: British Muslims.
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Uganda: DR Sentamu Favourite for UK Anglican Top Job
25 February 2008
Peter Nyanzi

IN the wake of the controversy raised by the Archbishop of Canterbury over the Sharia law, bookies are taking bets on who will be the next Archbishop of the Church of England.

Ugandan-born Dr John Sentamu is said to be the firm favourite.

The majority of people have staked thousands of pounds on Dr Sentamu stepping up to take the helm, if and when the incumbent Dr Rowan Williams steps down, according to press reports in England.
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Anglican rift deepens as two sides go to court
February 25, 2008

VANCOUVER -- The cracks in the Anglican Church of Canada are widening over the issue of blessing same-sex marriages, with three more congregations voting to split with the national organization over the weekend - and the two sides headed to court on Friday.

So far, the legal battle is limited to the diocese of Niagara in Ontario, where two congregations voted to break away last week and a third, the Church of the Good Shepherd in St. Catharines, followed suit yesterday. Two congregations in the diocese of New Westminster in B.C. - Church of the Good Shepherd, and St. Matthias and St. Luke, both of Vancouver - also voted to break away, bringing the total of dissident churches to 15. They have all put themselves under the authority of the Archbishop Gregory Venables of the Province of the Southern Cone in South America.
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Preaching duel no contest
Competing services held at Oakville church as Anglican dispute heads to courtroom

Feb 25, 2008
Jim Wilkes Staff Reporter

Excerpt: "Leaders of the Church's Diocese of Niagara want to boot the congregation and Pastor Paul from the building, even though the local folks have paid off the mortgage, and funded the upkeep and utilities without a nickel from head office.

The congregation refuses to hand over the keys to the place and are content to await the result of a court hearing on Friday to determine who owns what, who gets to stay and who must go.

The Diocese parachuted in a relief reverend yesterday morning, ostensibly to preach to disenfranchised St. Hilda's parishioners upset by the move.

The only problem? There weren't any.
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Good Shepherd leaving the flock; Anglican church members vote to break away from national body

The troublesome priest
A furor erupts in Britain over the archbishop's accommodating stance toward Islamic sharia law. Has the cleric -- and multiculturalism -- gone too far?
By Salil Tripathi
Feb. 25, 2008

LONDON -- Five years ago this week (Feb. 27), Rowan Williams, 57, was enthroned as the 104th archbishop of Canterbury, heading Britain's official church, enjoying the privilege of being perceived as the moral authority of the government. When the queen is called the defender of the faith, that faith is the Church of England, and Williams is its CEO, with the church having the right to sit in Parliament. He is also the first among equals of the larger Anglican faith, with millions of adherents around the world.

And yet, if celebrations of the anniversary are subdued, he should hardly be surprised. In an address at the royal courts of justice, and in a radio interview, Williams suggested it was inevitable that Britain would have to accommodate aspects of the sharia law to help "maintain social cohesion," perplexing, dismaying, puzzling, upsetting and angering many in Britain and beyond. Williams said he wanted Britain to avoid the "inflexible or over-restrictive application of traditional law," and be wary of a "universalist Enlightenment system," which could ghettoize minorities.
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