Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Devotional: It is not you who shape God...

It is not you who shape God; it is God that shapes you. If then you are the work of God, await the hand of the Artist who does all things in due season. Offer the Potter your heart, soft and tractable, and keep the form in which the Artist has fashioned you. Let your clay be moist, lest you grow hard and lose the imprint of the Potter's fingers. ...Irenaeus image

Future Present

March 29th, 2009
by Scipio

Our archeologist, while rummaging among the ruins of our fallen civilization, met a ghost from the long dead race of Americans. The wraith boasted much about what we had been as a people...

...The archeologist asked, “If you accomplished all of this, then why did your nation collapse?” The ghost answered, “Because we went insane.”

“Please explain.”

The ghost took a breath and said, “We traded beauty for ugliness, truth for lies, liberty for comfort, love for indifference, responsibility for frivolity, duty for entertainment, history for sound bites, and children for pleasure. We had gold, but we tossed it aside and replaced it with cleverly designed dross. We turned men into women and women into men and marveled at our new creative power. We stopped looking up to Heaven and began to keep our gaze firmly fixed on the ground. We abandoned the old God for a host of hip, cool and slick new ones.”

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German family seeks U.S. asylum to homeschool kids

Rose French
Associated Press Writer

MORRISTOWN, Tenn. - Homeschooling is so important to Uwe Romeike that the classically trained pianist sold his beloved grand pianos to pay for moving his wife and five children from Germany to the Smoky Mountain foothills of Tennessee.

Romeike, his wife Hannelore, and their children live in a modest duplex about 40 miles northeast of Knoxville while they seek political asylum here. They say they were persecuted for their evangelical Christian beliefs and homeschooling their children in Germany, where school attendance is compulsory.

When the Romeikes wouldn't comply with repeated orders to send the children to school, police came to their home one October morning in 2006 and took the children, crying and upset, to school. "We tried not to open the door, but they (police) kept ringing the doorbell for 15 or 20 minutes," Romeike said. "They called us by phone and spoke on the answering machine and said they would knock open the door if we didn't open it. So I opened it." the rest

Gay clergy's hopes dashed by Presbyterian decision

The church uses a technical ruling to block a lesbian deacon's longtime attempt to become a priest. She might appeal.
Times Staff And Wire Reports
March 30, 2009

March was a busy month for courts weighing issues affecting churches and clergy in California and across the nation.Three rulings -- one from a church body, two from secular courts -- involved a California lesbian who hopes to become a priest, a dispute over church property in Colorado and whether children in Texas should observe a minute of silence before starting their school day.

In California, a Presbyterian Church commission issued a ruling Wednesday that essentially halted a lesbian deacon's candidacy for ordination as a priest. the rest

Buddhist Bishop-Elect’s Line-by-Line Denial of the Nicene Creed

Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Stand Firm

Up to now we've focused mainly on Forrester's association with and practice of Zen Buddhism, and no reasonable survey of his history, writings or statements can support the conclusion that he is not, in fact, a Zen Buddhist. But there has been some discussion among Episcopal "progressives" to the effect that, while Forrester may indeed "walk the path of Zen Buddhism," that fact in and of itself is not reason enough to deny him consent as the next bishop of Northern Michigan. The "reasoning" goes that so long as Forrester is "sufficiently" Christian, that is enough. So now we turn to that question.

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

"One of the amazing insights I have found in the interfaith dialogue is that, no matter what you name that source, from which all life comes—you can name that source God, Abba; you may name that source Yahweh; you may name that source Allah; you may name that source “the great emptiness;” you can name that source many things, but what all the faiths in their wisdom have acknowledged in the interfaith dialogue is that, you and I, we’re not the source." (Trinity Sunday sermon, May 18, 2008)

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God,

"Everyone is the sacred word of God, in whom Christ lives." (Already One in God, response to Dar es Salaam communiqué, to which KTF is a signatory, The Church in Hiawathaland newsletter, Sept 2007)

"We affirm the sacramental gift of all persons, their Christ-ness..." (Already One in God, response to Dar es Salaam communiqué, to which KTF is a signatory, The Church in Hiawathaland newsletter, Sept 2007)

"In other words that we might learn to be still and know that we are in the presence of God. We might learn to be still and know that God is present in us and as us." (Eucharist sermon, April 6, 2008) the rest

Honda connects brain thoughts with robotics

Mar 31, 2009

TOKYO (AP) - Opening a car trunk or controlling a home air conditioner could become just a wish away with Honda's new technology that connects thoughts inside a brain with robotics.

Honda Motor Co. (HMC) has developed a way to read patterns of electric currents on a person's scalp as well as changes in cerebral blood flow when a person thinks about four simple movements - moving the right hand, moving the left hand, running and eating.

Honda succeeded in analyzing such thought patterns, and then relaying them as wireless commands for Asimo, its human-shaped robot.
the rest

Bishop Michael Nazir Ali – ‘Enough is Enough’

Charles Raven
30th March 2009

Two very different interpretations of Bishop Michael Nazir Ali’s resignation have emerged in the British press today.

Melanie Phillips offers a careful assessment based on the facts of Dr Nazir Ali’s ministry and sees it as a shocking indictment of the Church of England that a bishop should have to resign in order to defend the teaching of the Church and its members effectively.

In contrast the Daily Telegraph’s George Pitcher speculates that the bishop mistakenly gambled on GAFCON becoming predominant and his departure signifies its demise as an effective movement in the Anglican Communion. “The traditionalist schism” we are assured “has fizzled out”.

While I have no privileged access to the thinking behind Bishop Nazir Ali’s decision, in retrospect we can see that even some two years ago he gave a strong hint that he might take such action, and for reasons which seem to have totally eluded George Pitcher.

In an address of 2nd April 2007 (subsequently published by Latimer trust as ‘Truth and Unity in Christian Fellowship’, Latimer Briefing 7), well before GAFCON was under consideration, he warned of a point where it would be no longer possible with integrity to work with the grain of the Church of England because of its chronic tendency to capitulate to the surrounding culture. There will come a time when “we will have to say ‘Enough is enough. We need now to bear prophetic witness to the culture around us, to the state, even within the church.’” (Latimer Briefing 7, p12)

It seems that Dr Nazir Ali has himself now come to that point where ‘Enough is enough’ the rest

Study: Abortions Cause Future Relationship Problems, More Domestic Violence

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 30, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- Some women decide to have abortions because they think having a baby will contribute to problems in their relationship with their husband or boyfriend.

However, a new national study finds abortion causes more future relationship problems than carrying the pregnancy to term and parenting.Dr. Priscilla Coleman, a professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Bowling Green State University headed up the study with Vincent Rue of the Florida-based Institute for Pregnancy Loss and post-abortion researcher Catherine Coyle.

"For both men and women the experience of an abortion in a previous relationship was related to negative outcomes in the current relationship: perceptions of improved quality of life if this relationship also ended and intimate partner violence," they write. the rest

Albert Mohler: Does Your Pastor Believe in God?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A news report from the Netherlands points to a form of theological insanity that is spreading far beyond the Dutch. Ecumenical News International reports that church authorities in the Netherlands have decided not to take action against a Dutch pastor who openly declares himself to be an atheist.

The pastor, Klaas Hendrikse, serves a congregation of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands. In 2007 he published a book described as a "manifesto of an atheist pastor." In the book Hendrikse argues for the non-existence of God, but he insists that he does believe in God as a concept.
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First Things: Barack Obama and Notre Dame: Juris Doctor Honoris Causa?

By Francis J. Beckwith
Tuesday, March 31, 2009

If you have not heard yet, President Barack Obama has accepted an invitation from the University of Notre Dame—not only to address its graduates at its May 17 commencement exercises but also to have bestowed upon him at this event an honorary doctorate of laws.

The University of Notre Dame is a Catholic university, which means that it affirms the truth of Catholic moral theology and all that it entails about liberty, community, and the dignity of the human person. According to Catholic moral theology, a regime whose laws sequester a group of human beings from its protections for reasons that are capricious and gravely immoral is a regime whose laws on this matter are not really laws at all. In fact, we need not even consult a Catholic theologian, philosopher, or legal scholar to receive clarity on this question. We can cite the words of a Baptist minister, who made generous use of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas in what has become one of the most important epistles in American political discourse. On April 16, 1963, in his “A Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. penned these words:

I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.” Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. the rest

Malkin: Tea Party progress report

Michelle Malkin
March 30, 2009

Just 15 days until the Tax Day Tea Party protest! 300 cities and counting. Your places for all the latest planning developments, as always:

Tax Day Tea Party
TCOT Report
Smart Girl Politics

Check out the full list of TDTP sponsors and supporting organizations here.

Get some Tax Day Tea Party gear here.
(Just ordered the iTeaParty t-shirt.) More image

Why the Democrats Can't Govern

Look who's killing Obama's agenda now
by Jonathan Chait
Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The last Democrat who held the White House, Bill Clinton, saw the core of his domestic agenda come to ruin, his political support collapse, and his failure spawn a massive Republican resurgence that made progressive reform impossible for a decade to come. The Democrat who last held the White House before that, Jimmy Carter, saw the exact same thing happen to him.

At this early date, nobody can know whether or not Barack Obama will escape this fate. But the contours of failure are now clearly visible. In Obama's case, as with his predecessors, the prospective culprit is the same: Democrats in Congress, and especially the Senate. At a time when the country desperately needs a coherent response to the array of challenges it faces, the congressional arm of the Democratic Party remains mired in fecklessness, parochialism, and privilege. Obama has made mistakes, as did his predecessors. Yet the constant recurrence of legislative squabbling and drift suggests a deeper problem than any characterological or tactical failures by these presidents: a congressional party that is congenitally unable to govern. the rest

PB Schori's Easter Message

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop
The Episcopal Church

The light returns and the days lengthen, even if it remains startlingly dark as we rise these days -- daylight savings time is not always a blessing so early in the year! Christians, however, look for light even in the midst of darkness, for we know that darkness will not overcome it. The rising of the Son brings light into lives filled with grief, agony, and despair. Are you searching for the light of new life?

Easter recollects us and reorients us toward God's eternal light of truth and peace and love. The resurrection is the ultimate proclamation that nothing can separate us from that light, not despair or destruction or death. We see hints of that resurrection all around us once our eyes have learned to look, and we continue to hope for its fullness, for the blessing of a light so encompassing that there can be no darkness or separation. Lent has been a willingness to experience the darkness of our current separation and tune our yearning for that light. Carry that yearning into Eastertide, and beyond, that we and the world around us may know the blessing of the light of Christ. link

Easter 2009

Obama nominee sees no "reason why sharia law would not be applied to govern a case in the United States"

March 30, 2009

On top of that, this Obama pick believes that "America's focus on the War on Terror [is] 'obsessive.'" And his list of countries that flagrantly disregard international law highlights North Korea, Iraq, and the U.S.A. -- which he collectively calls "the axis of disobedience."

"Obama's most perilous legal pick," by Meghan Clyne for the New York Post, March 30 (thanks to Doc Washburn):

JUDGES should interpret the Constitution according to other nations' legal "norms." Sharia law could apply to disputes in US courts. The United States constitutes an "axis of disobedience" along with North Korea and Saddam-era Iraq.

Those are the views of the man on track to become one of the US government's top lawyers: Harold Koh.
the rest

Monday, March 30, 2009

EDS Chooses Abortion-Rights Leader as Next Dean

March 30, 2009

The Rev. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, vicar of St. David’s Church, Pepperell, Mass., was named president and dean of Episcopal Divinity School by unanimous vote of the board of trustees.

Brett Donham, chairman of the EDS board of trustees, made the announcement March 30. She will assume her new responsibilities effective July 1.

“Katherine’s gifts, skills, and experience are an excellent match with the criteria established by the search committee, both in terms of the current challenges and opportunities at EDS, and the personal attributes we are looking for in a new leader,” Mr. Donham said.

Dr. Ragsdale has served as vicar of St. David’s since 1996. Since 2005, she has also served as president and executive director of Political Research Associates, a progressive think tank dedicated to building a more just and inclusive democratic society by exposing movements, institutions, and ideologies on the political and Christian Right “that undermine human rights,” according to information published on the organization’s website. During her tenure at Political Research Associates, Dr. Ragsdale helped the organization successfully broaden its donor base as part of a transition from a founder-led institution.

She has also been a passionate advocate and author on abortion from a Christian perspective. She served for 17 years (eight as chairwoman) on the national board for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC). As chairwoman, she oversaw a sweeping reorganization that included a change of name and mission. During her tenure, the RCRC doubled the size of both its staff and budget. She also serves on the board of NARAL: Pro-Choice America, The White House Project, the Progressive Religious Partnership, and the advisory board of The Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence. She is a widely sought speaker on public policy issues affecting women, professional ethics as well as lesbian and gay rights. the rest

Father Cantalamessa: There Is a Very Close Relationship Between Conscience and the Holy Spirit

Lenten Sermon
MARCH 27, 2009

Up to now we have dealt with the conscience, the first area in which guidance of the Holy Spirit is exercised. There is a second area, which is the Church. The internal witness of the Holy Spirit should be combined with the external, visible and objective witness, which is the apostolic magisterium. In the book of Revelation, at the end of each of the seven letters, we hear the admonishment: "Let anyone who can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches" (Revelation 2:7).

The Spirit also speaks to the churches and the communities, not just to individuals. In the Acts of the Apostles St. Peter brings the two testimonies of the Holy Spirit together, the interior and exterior, the personal and the public. He has just finished speaking to the crowd about Christ put to death and resurrected, and they feel "cut to the heart" (Acts 2:37). He spoke the same words in front of the heads of the Sanhedrin, and they became irate (cfr. Acts 4:8). The same words, the same preacher, but an entirely different effect. How could this be? The explanation is found in these words that the Apostle said at that time: "We are witnesses to this, we and the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him." (Acts 5:32)

The two testimonies need to come together so that the faith can flower: the apostle's who proclaims the word and the Holy Spirit's that allows it to be accepted. The same idea is expressed in the gospel of John, when, speaking about the Paraclete, Jesus says: "he will be my witness. And you too will be witnesses" (John 15:26).

It is just as deadly to try to forego either of the two guides of the Spirit. When the interior testimony is neglected, we easily fall into legalism and authoritarianism; when the exterior, apostolic testimony is neglected, we fall into subjectivism and fanaticism. In ancient times the Gnostics refused the apostolic, official testimony. St. Irenaeus wrote these famous words in apposition to them:

"For this gift of God has been entrusted to the Church, as breath was to the first created man… of which all those are not partakers who do not join themselves to the Church… Alienated thus from the truth, they do deservedly wallow in all error, tossed to and fro by it, thinking differently in regard to the same things at different times, and never attaining to a well-grounded knowledge".[9]

When everything is reduced to just the personal, private listening to the Spirit, the path is opened to a unstoppable process of division and subdivision, because everyone believe they are right. And the very division and multiplication of denominations and sects, often contrasting each other in their essential points, demonstrates that the same Spirit of truth in speaking cannot be in all, because otherwise he would be contradicting himself.

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Navy Secretary Nominee Drew Notice Over Divorce

March 29, 2009

WASHINGTON — President Obama’s nominee for secretary of the Navy was involved in a divorce that drew national attention for his secret taping of a conversation between his wife and his family priest that he used against her in court proceedings.

The nominee, Ray Mabus, is a former governor of Mississippi and a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and he served in the Navy during the Vietnam War. Mr. Mabus, a Democrat, was a strong supporter of Mr. Obama in the campaign last year.

In 1998, as Mr. Mabus and his wife, Julie (now Julie Hines), sought to work out their marital problems, he surreptitiously recorded a meeting the couple had with the Rev. Jerry McBride, a mutual friend. the rest

Keeping watch

There has long been uneasiness about the degree to which we are scrutinised by the authorities, but with innovations like Google's Street View we are being urged to spy on each other. Advances in technology are not being matched by any heightening of scruples
Melanie McDonagh
28 March 2009

My paternal granny used to spend hours every day in the upstairs room looking out across the street on the neighbours at the other side. There was one house in particular that she used to scrutinise closely and there was little they got up to in the way of coming and going that she was not privy to. I have no notion whether the inmates of the house had any idea whether they were being observed, and whether, as cells under observation are said to do, they subtly altered their behaviour to take account of the fact there was an interested party just opposite.

Little did I know it at the time, but my granny was ahead of the herd. We are gradually acquiring the means to monitor each other in a number of interesting ways. The latest development is Google's Street View, which offers the opportunity to examine a particular house in a particular street in the towns that the site covers. Like half the population I've been working through my address book, typing in postcodes and seeing for myself where others live. The novelty wears off in about a minute, but I got to see that one journalist of my acquaintance lives in an impossibly grand house but I didn't care for the look of one former editor's address. My own mansion-block flat did not feature in Street View; it's on the top floor. the rest image

Bishop of Rochester’s surprise resignation

Monday, 30th March 2009
By George Conger

The resignation of the Bishop of Rochester has come as a surprise to leaders of the conservative wing of the Anglican Communion, American, Australian and Pakistani church leaders tell Religiousintelligence.com.

On March 28, a diocesan press statement said the Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir Ali would stand down on Sept 1 as Bishop of Rochester to “work with a number of church leaders from areas where the church is under pressure, particularly in minority situations, who have asked him to assist them with education and training for their particular situation.”

Dr. Nazir Ali appended a personal note to the announcement saying he and his family thanked “God for his blessings and for friends we have made in the Diocese in the past 15 years. I am so grateful to God for the friendship and loyalty of those around us and ask for people’s prayers as we take this step of faith ‘not knowing where we are going’ (Heb 11:8).” the rest

Tax Day Tea Party Site Hit By Denial of Service Attack

29 March 2009

The coalition organizing the February 27 and April 15 Tea Parties has been under an orchestrated, coordinated distributed denial of service (ddos) attack since Friday, March 27. Efforts to thwart the attack continue.

The attacks prevent the public from reaching the organization’s main site and prevent administrators and volunteers from updating information on the site.

While the attacking IP addresses indicate locations in Russia, China, and other European and Asian locations, the attack is most likely being conducted by a United States citizen or political group opposed to the Tea Party concepts of smaller government, lower taxes, strict adherence to the rule of Constitutional law, and fiscal responsibility.
the rest

2009 Tea Parties

Bishop Love of Albany on the Recent HoB Meeting; Votes ‘No’ on Forrester

The most controversial discussion during the HOB meeting centered on the election of the Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester, Bishop-Elect of Northern Michigan. A number of bishops spoke both for and against the consent of Bishop-Elect Forrester. Concern was expressed over the election process itself which resulted in Rev. Forrester being the only nominee; the controversy surrounding his connection with Zen Buddhism; several of his liturgical practices to include his rewriting the Baptismal Covenant and Eucharistic prayers; and his teachings on the Trinity. Bishops with jurisdiction and all Standing Committees of The Episcopal Church will be asked to vote for or against the consent of his election. It is too early to know what the final outcome will be. The consent process can last up to 120 days. I voted NO to his consent.

The Mission Funding Initiative was another topic that generated a great deal of debate and expressed concern by several bishops. The stated intent of the MFI is to provide supplemented support of TEC’s mission efforts which have traditionally been funded by assessment income. Large and substantial gifts will be solicited reportedly to support the following five Funds: The Fund for Congregational Development; Leadership in Ministry; Communications; Spiritual Enrichment; and Global Ministry. An additional use of the funds, not formally listed among the five Funds of the Mission Funding Initiative identified above, but verbally mentioned by one of the presenters was the establishment of a legal fund to support future legal actions taken by TEC. I expressed my grave concern to the House of Bishops over all the ongoing law suits dealing with property disputes within The Episcopal Church. I am very much aware of all the arguments and rationale for the law suits, however, I firmly believe that regardless of who wins in court, ultimately everyone loses. There has to be a better, more pastoral and Christ-like way of dealing with these issues than the current actions being taken. The Lord calls the Church to rise above the ways of the world in dealing with disputes. We need to conduct ourselves in such a way that the love and Good News of Jesus Christ shines forth, building up the Kingdom of God, not tearing it down.

Full Letter at Stand Firm

The church’s lost leader

Melanie Phillips
Daily Mail
30 March 2009

The resignation of Michael Nazir-Ali as Bishop of Rochester is a terrible blow, not just for the Church of England but for Britain.

The bishop says he is resigning so that he can work for endangered or beleaguered Christian minorities both abroad and in the UK.

What a shocking rebuke to the church, that he has to leave his post of influence and authority as a bishop in order to carry out the church’s core duty to defend its own against attack.

Shocking — but hardly surprising. Across the world, in countries such as Nigeria and Sudan, millions of Christians are being persecuted at the hands of militant Islam, with forced conversions, the burning of churches and widespread violence.

Yet in the face of this global onslaught, the Church of England makes scarcely a peep of protest.
Worse still, when Dr Nazir-Ali warned last year that Islamic extremists had created ‘no-go areas’ across Britain where non-Muslims faced intimidation, he was disowned by his fellow churchmen who all but declared that he was a liar - even though he was telling the truth. the rest

Obama seeks Muslims for White House posts

45 Ivy League grads, Fortune 500 execs, government officials submitted for look
March 28, 2009
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

WASHINGTON – Barack Obama is conducting his own affirmative action program to get more Muslims in the White House.

The move began with Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn, who took his oath of office with a hand on the Quran, to solicit the resume of what he considered to be the nation's most qualified adherents of Islam.

According to the Denver Post, when White House officials heard about the program, it was put on overdrive. the rest

Obama Expected to Engage in Fence-Mending With Islamic Nations at Meeting in Turkey - CNS News

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Devotional: Lord, at Thy mercy seat...

Lord, at Thy mercy seat, humbly I fall;
Pleading Thy promise sweet, Lord, hear my call;
Now let Thy work begin, oh, make me pure within,
Cleanse me from every sin, Jesus, my all.

Tears of repentant grief, silently fall;
Help Thou my unbelief, hear Thou my call;
Oh, how I pine for Thee! ’Tis all my hope and plea:
Jesus has died for me, Jesus, my all.

Still at Thy mercy seat, Savior, I fall;
Trusting Thy promise sweet, heard is my call;
Faith wings my soul to Thee; this all my song shall be,
Jesus has died for me, Jesus my all.
...Fanny Crosby

Jesus Wasn’t Always Nice

Mar 26, 2009

Jesus wasn’t always nice. I had to remember that in responding to some letters I received from readers who were disappointed by my recent article, My Interview with President Obama. Some folks didn’t like the rhetorical device I employed, namely the fictional interview I composed. Others felt that I was too hard on the President when I criticized him for using tax dollars to fund abortion overseas. They said that I was not being charitable as Jesus would have been.

For example, one letter writer complained that I presented the President as a clown. “I resent the insult to our President,” she said. One of my fans from Ohio wrote, “Wow! The venom really drips on this [column] . . . Easy to blast away from the comfort and security of your cemetery hermitage . . . What did you expect to accomplish?” And a third instructed me that “the Bible teaches us to love and pray for our enemies and to turn the other cheek and not attack them . . . Charity is patient and kind. It is not arrogant or rude.”

First I should note that I am seldom offended by people criticizing the things I’ve written. Inspiring healthy dialogue in the Church is one of the goals of my columns. I hope, though, that critics can always distinguish between my personal opinions and the essential teachings of the Church which, as Catholics they are obliged to accept.

I do find it intriguing, though, that the critics of the Obama column were more offended by my writing than the fact that the President is using their tax dollars to destroy unborn children. (And now to engage in the destruction of human embryos in stem cell research.) But it still seems to me that if the President’s anti-life actions don’t stir up moral outrage in you, nothing; if they don’t offend your conscience, you need a conscience transplant, my friend. the rest image

Study: [Adult] Stem cell treatment effective in heart patients

March 28, 2009

A stem cell treatment designed to regenerate the heart led to less discomfort and an "improved tolerance" for exercise in patients suffering severe heart disease and chest pain known as angina, a study announced today that is led by Northwestern University and sponsored by Baxter International Inc. shows.

Nearly 170 adult patients were studied for six months after having their own stem cells injected into their hearts. Although still early in research, researchers conducting the trial say the results are significant enough that research will continue into a critical final stage with a larger group of patients studied.

"The six-month, phase II data provide the first evidence that a patient's own stem cells could actually be used as a treatment for their heart disease," said Dr. Douglas Losordo, director of Northwestern University's Feinberg Cardiovascular Research Institute. the rest

Archbishop confronts BBC Director General over its treatment of religion

The Archbishop of Canterbury has complained to the Director General of the BBC about the decline of religious programming at the Corporation.
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones,
Religious Affairs Correspondent
29 Mar 2009

Dr Rowan Williams warned Mark Thompson at a meeting at Lambeth Palace that the broadcaster must not ignore its Christian audience.

His intervention comes amid mounting concern among senior members of the Church of England that the BBC is downgrading its religious output and giving preferential treatment to minority faiths.

The corporation recently sacked its head of religious programmes, Michael Wakelin, a Methodist preacher.

The emergence of a Muslim as the front-runner to succeed Mr Wakelin, along with the recent appointment of a Sikh to produce Songs of Praise, has raised fears within the Church that the Christian voice is being sidelined. the rest

Married Catholic priests gain acceptance

Family used to questions, but mainly they find they're accepted
March 29, 2009

There are few women who can say they are married to a Roman Catholic priest. And few people who can say their dad is the man whom Catholic churchgoers address formally as "Father Steve."

But Cindy Anderson and her three sons can, and they were among the rush of congregants who gathered for 10 a.m. mass on a recent Sunday at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church in Goodrich.

The parish priest is Cindy's husband and the father of Austin, 24, Steven Jr., 14, and Christian, 11. The Rev. Steve Anderson has been a Catholic priest since 2003, when he became the second priest in Michigan to be ordained under an exception to the Catholic Church's celibacy rule for married ministers serving some Protestant denominations.

About 100 married men, mostly ministers in Episcopal churches in the United States, have sought permission from the Vatican to be ordained as Catholic priests since Pope John Paul II allowed it in 1980. the rest

The Secret of Benedict XVI's Popularity. In Spite of Everything

Despite being rocked by criticism, this pope continues to enjoy the trust of the masses. His trip to Africa and a survey in Italy prove this. The reason is that he speaks of God to a humanity in search of direction
by Sandro Magister

ROME, March 27, 2009 – On the flight back from his trip to Cameroon and Angola, Benedict XVI told the journalists that two things in particular had been ingrained in his memory:

"On the one hand, the almost exuberant hospitality and the joy of a festive Africa. In the pope, they saw the personification of the fact that we are all children of God and his family. This family exists, and we, with all of our limitations, are in this family, and God is with us."

On the other hand, there was the spirit of recollection at the liturgies, the strong sense of the sacred: in the liturgies, there was no self-representation of groups, no self-promotion, but the presence of the sacred, of God himself. Even the movements, the dances, were always respectful and cognizant of the divine presence.

"Popularity and presence of God. The interweaving of these two elements is the secret of Joseph Ratzinger's pontificate.
the rest-don't miss this!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Devotional: The Christian can have confidence...

The Christian can have confidence under adverse circumstances, for God knows. Darkness and light are alike to Him. More than that, He knows both the way and the wayfarer. He knows me! He understands my sigh of heart, my searching for guidance. He knows the faith that declared, however falteringly and faintly, "Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief!"

The Almighty does not abandon us in our moments of bewilder- ment. He is with us every moment although, like Job, we are not aware of His presence. We can be sure that "when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold;" sighing will become song; darkness will be changed to the delight of daybreak!

Thus there is always an "afterward" for us when we are disciplined by delay or distress. With assurance therefore we affirm with joy:"...he performeth the thing that is appointed for me" (Job 23: 10, 14) ...V. Raymond Edman image

Vast Spy System Loots Computers in 103 Countries

March 28, 2009

TORONTO — A vast electronic spying operation has infiltrated computers and has stolen documents from hundreds of government and private offices around the world, including those of the Dalai Lama, Canadian researchers have concluded.

In a report to be issued this weekend, the researchers said that the system was being controlled from computers based almost exclusively in China, but that they could not say conclusively that the Chinese government was involved. the rest

Liberation theology African style

by John L Allen Jr
Mar. 27, 2009

After the pope ended his Africa swing on Monday, my wife and I remained in Cameroon for most of this week, pondering the impact of the trip and taking stock of the African church. The experience reinforced an impression I’ve long had, and here it is in a sound-bite: What African Catholicism has to offer the global church is liberation theology without the hang-up over ecclesiastical authority.

First, the “liberation” part. Ask the typical American Catholic to tick off important issues facing the church, and you’re likely to get a dose of insider Catholic baseball: women in the church, teachings on sexual morality, the power of the pope or the bishops versus the laity, and so on. Put the same question to a typical African, and the answer is usually more outward-looking: war, corruption and bad governance, human rights, poverty.

The dominant concern in African Catholicism, in other words, is transforming society, usually in what Westerners would consider a fairly progressive direction. the rest

Food, Sex, and Us

March 28th, 2009
by George Weigel

George F. Will calls Mary Eberstadt “intimidatingly intelligent.” George must be easily intimidated these days, because Mary is one of the nicest (and funniest) people I know.

She’s also our premier analyst of American cultural foibles and follies, with a keen eye for oddities that illuminate just how strange the country’s moral culture has become.

In mid-2008, Mary penned the “The Vindication of Humanae Vitae,” the best defense of the encyclical written on its 40th anniversary. (If you missed it, you can retrieve it at firstthings.com). Now, in Policy Review, she’s written “Is Food the New Sex?”, a brilliant dissection of culinary puritanism and bedroom libertinism that includes the greatest subhead in recent magazine history: “Broccoli, Pornography, and Kant.” But don’t let the invocation of the Sage of Koenigsberg put you off your feed, so to speak; the article is quite accessible to those who last encountered The Critique of Pure Reason via Cliff Notes. the rest

Oregon Study Proves That People Who Want Assisted Suicide Need Care, Not Killing

By Wesley J. Smith
Friday, March 27, 2009

A new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, illustrates—yet again—that assisted suicide is not about unbearable suffering that can’t be controlled—as the scaremongering promoters claim—but rather understandable and treatable fears about the future.

the rest

Michael Nazir-Ali steps down as Bishop of Rochester

The Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali has announced his decision to step down as the Bishop of Rochester, one of the most senior positions in the Church of England.
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones,
Religious Affairs Correspondent
28 Mar 2009

Although Dr Nazir-Ali has been in charge of the Rochester diocese for nearly 15 years, the decision to quit - which will see him leave his post later this year - has come as a surprise.

The bishop is aged only 59 and potentially could have stayed in post for another decade.

He was a leading contender to succeed George Carey as Archbishop of Canterbury, but has become increasingly outspoken at the direction of the Church since Dr Rowan Williams’s appointment.

A spokesman for the bishop said that he wants to turn his attention to working with the persecuted church. the rest

Ruth Gledhill: Bishop of Rochester steps down early

House of Deputies Report Warns of Long Term Decline

March 27, 2009

More than five years later, tensions caused by the consecration of a partnered homosexual man as Bishop Coadjutor of New Hampshire continue to affect half of all Episcopal churches, according to census information compiled in the Blue Book prepared for the 76th General Convention, to be held July 8-17 in Anaheim, Calif.

The report, based on results from 783 completed surveys, is a sober snapshot of an aging denomination, struggling with unresolved conflict and in danger of long-term decline. It was written by the House of Deputies Committee on the State of the Church and included in the Blue Book report published in advance of Convention.

“In prior years the Committee on the State of the Church often heard the criticism that our church seemed unwilling to recognize the presence of a major source of internal controversy that some argued was having an impact on our common life, as reflected in declining membership and attendance statistics,” the Blue Book Report states. “The metaphor most often used was that we ‘failed to acknowledge the elephant in the room’, referring to what many viewed as the momentous decision by the 74th General Convention (2003) to consent to the consecration of the Bishop of New Hampshire.”

There are some indications that what the committee describes as “tensions” are growing in congregations. In a similar survey undertaken in 2005, 37 percent of congregations reported serious conflict that resulted in at least some members leaving. About one-third of those responding in 2005 attributed the conflict to decisions made during the 2003 General Convention. In a similar survey conducted in 2008, 64 percent of congregations reported some level of conflict over the ordination of homosexual clergy, with most reporting such conflict to be serious. the rest

Fifteen hundred ‘debaptised’ in one week in UK

Friday, 27th March 2009
By Toby Cohen

Fifteen hundred people paid to be ‘debaptised’ in the UK last week alone, as a new trend threatens to undermine the place of the Church of England.

The National Secular Society (NSS) has provided a ‘certificate of debaptism’ on its website for five years which has been downloaded by more than 100,000 people. They have recently introduced a new parchment copy for £3 which has proved incredibly popular, but the Church is refusing to recognize a need for the procedure.

The recipient of the certificate declares they “reject all [the Church’s] Creeds and all other such superstition in particular, the perfidious belief that any baby needs to be cleansed by Baptism of alleged Original Sin, and the evil power of supposed demons.”

It continues: “I wish to be excluded henceforth from enhanced claims of church membership numbers based on past baptismal statistics used, for example, for the purpose of securing legislative privilege.” the rest

Atheists call for 'debaptism'

Church authorities not to discipline Dutch 'atheist' pastor

27 March 2009
Andreas Havinga

Utrecht, Netherlands (ENI). Two regional church authorities in the Netherlands are reported to have decided to take no disciplinary action against a self-proclaimed atheist pastor, Klaas Hendrikse.

The decision of the authorities in the southern Dutch province of Zeeland was published in a letter to their congregations, the Protestant daily newspaper the Nederlands Dagblad reported on 24 March.

The church authorities said disciplinary proceedings against Hendrikse, who is a pastor of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, would be likely to lead to, "a protracted discussion about the meanings of words that in the end will produce little clarity". The letter also noted that people have debated the issue of "God's existence" throughout time. the rest

Priest Condemns Nightclub 'Mockery' of Crucifixion

By Anne Thomas
Christian Today Reporter
Fri, Mar. 27 2009

LONDON – An Irish Catholic priest has condemned as “blasphemous” a plan by a Wexford nightclub to hold a mock crucifixion of Jesus at a party during the Easter weekend.

The Music Factory, which often has themed nights, is planning on holding the crucifixion on the night of Easter Sunday. It will feature an actor playing Jesus on the cross, who will also be whipped by dancers dressed as Roman soldiers.

The cross on which the crucifixion will reportedly take place is to be set up in the middle of the nightclub dance floor and will form part of a show called the Resurrection Section.

Peter May, co-owner of the nightclub, was quoted by the Irish Times as saying, “It will be done in a fun, lighthearted way. A lot of young people forget what Easter is really about. This is a way of reminding them. A lot of young people don’t really know what Easter is all about. This is where they come. If it’s there in their faces, maybe next year, they will think about it.” the rest

Thinking Epistemologically about Obama and Notre Dame

Francis Beckwith explains why Notre Dame's invitation is so controversial, and what it says about higher education.
Interview by Sarah Pulliam

Francis Beckwith knows what it's like to be in the middle of controversy. In fact, he thinks he's a magnet for it. Beckwith, who is a philosophy and church-studies professor at Baylor University, triggered a debate when he resigned as president of the Evangelical Theological Society after converting to Catholicism.

Now Beckwith happens to be a visiting fellow at the University of Notre Dame, where a new debate is focused on the university's invitation to President Obama to speak at commencement.
"My wife says I'm like the Forrest Gump for controversy," he said. "But on campus, more people are concerned about whether the Fighting Irish would beat Kentucky." Beckwith spoke with Christianity Today about what the discussion means for Catholic and evangelical higher education institutions. Interview here

The Struggle for Notre Dame: Two Bishops and a Cardinal add their Voice

Blue Book's reports posted on General Convention's website

March 27, 2009

[Episcopal News Service] The Blue Book, the collection of reports to the Episcopal Church's General Convention of the work done by its committees, commissions, agencies and boards (CCABs) during the 2007-2009 triennium, is now available online here.

The Blue Book, which has a red cover for the 76th General Convention, also contains the resolutions that each groups will propose to the convention when it meets July 8-17 in Anaheim, California.

The online version, available here, is divided into individual reports.

The print version of the Blue Book will soon be mailed to members of the House of Bishops and House of Deputies, the two legislative houses of General Convention. It will include a CD-ROM with all the reports, supplemental materials that could not be included in the book and an indexed list of the "A" resolutions proposed by the CCABs. link

Friday, March 27, 2009

Devotional: The friend of the Bridegroom...

"The friend of the Bridegroom." John 3:29

In order to maintain this friendship and loyalty to the Bridegroom, we have to be more careful of our moral and vital relationship to Him than of any other thing, even of obedience. Sometimes there is nothing to obey, the only thing to do is to maintain a vital connection with Jesus Christ, to see that nothing interferes with that. Only occasionally do we have to obey. When a crisis arises we have to find out what God's will is, but the greater part of the life is not conscious obedience but the maintenance of this relationship - the friend of the Bridegroom. Christian work may be a means of evading the soul's concentration on Jesus Christ. Instead of being friends of the Bridegroom, we may become amateur providences, and may work against Him whilst we use His weapons. ...Oswald Chambers image

The Curmudgeon's take on the Colorado Court Decision

Wednesday, March 25, 2009
A.S. Haley

. . . and I am utterly undone." Thus King Pyrrhus is reported to have replied when a messenger reported that his army had triumphed over the Romans at Asculum, but with a loss of most of his men. And now the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Diocese of Colorado might want to reflect on the fate of King Pyrrhus as they celebrate the decision which Judge Larry Schwatz handed them yesterday.

The usual blogs are quick to shout "victory" in their headlines, but I will wager not many of their authors have actually taken time to read and digest the opinion. And not that I am blaming them---the reasoning is convoluted and strained, and even contradictory at times. First Judge Schwartz says one thing, then he appears to reconsider several pages later, and say the opposite.
Analysis here

Muslim Priest and Buddhist Bishop-Elect Are Raising Questions About Syncretism

For years, Episcopal Church leaders have taught that God can be found in other faiths. Now some clergy are pursuing him there.
George Conger

Jesus saves, the Episcopal Church teaches, but a growing number of its clergy and leaders believe other faiths may lead to salvation as well. Long divided and distracted by questions of sexual ethics, the Episcopal Church (along with most mainline Protestant communities) are facing a cultural and theological shift towards religious pluralism—the belief that there are diverse paths to God.

The debate is not just academic. In two current cases, Episcopal clergy are under scrutiny for practicing and promoting other religions. On February 12 a devotee of Zen Buddhism was elected bishop of the Episcopal Church's Northern Michigan diocese. Meanwhile, a Seattle-area priest has been given until March 30 to decide whether she is a Muslim or a Christian as her bishop will not permit her to profess both faiths.

The Episcopal Church's problems with syncretism—the blending of belief systems—comes as no surprise to Wade Clark Roof, professor of Religious Studies at the University of California-Santa Barbara and a leading sociologist of religion. "Clearly there are people, including religious leaders, [who find] spiritual wisdom in faiths other than their own," he told Christianity Today.

the rest-Don't miss this!

Christians in Hawaii credited for gay civil unions defeat

Mar 26, 2009
by Michael Foust

HONOLULU (BP)--One month after its passage appeared all but certain, a bill to legalize civil unions in Hawaii was rejected Wednesday in the state Senate, and observers on both sides are pointing to an outpouring of opposition from Christians as a main reason.

The bill would have made Hawaii the sixth state to grant homosexual couples all the legal benefit of marriage minus the name. The bill deadlocked at 3-3 in a Senate committee Feb. 25 but nevertheless appeared headed for passage when Democratic leaders claimed they had majority support for it in the full body. But support plummeted in the following days, and on Wednesday an attempt to pull it from committee failed, with only six of 24 senators supporting the action. It needed nine votes -- one third of the body -- to be considered on the floor.

The turning point turned out to be a rally at the state capitol Feb. 22 in which 8,000 to 12,000 opponents -- most dressed in red -- urged senators to defeat the bill, which had passed the House, 33-17. the rest

Criticism over Obama invite mounts at Notre Dame

Mar 27, 2009

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Jimmy Carter came to Notre Dame in 1977. So did Ronald Reagan in 1981 and George W. Bush in 2001.

The University of Notre Dame has a tradition of inviting new presidents to speak at graduation. But this year's selection of President Barack Obama has been met by a barrage of criticism that has left some students fearing their commencement ceremony will turn into a circus.

Many Catholics are angered by Obama's planned appearance at the May 17 ceremony because of his decisions to provide federal funding for embryonic stem cell research and international family planning groups that provide abortions or educate about the procedure. the rest

PB Schori to participate in interfaith event

By Joe Bjordal, March 26, 2009
[Episcopal News Service]

Leaders of the three great faiths that trace their heritage back to Abraham -- Judaism, Christianity and Islam -- will gather on March 27 in Omaha, Nebraska to talk about peace. The program will be broadcast live via the Internet.

The groundbreaking event, called "Dinner in Abraham's Tent," will draw 1,000 persons to the Qwest Conference Center. The webcast will begin at 8:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time/9 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time and may be viewed at http://www.trifaith.org/.

The "conversation on peace" will involve Rabbi Peter Knobel, immediate past president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Dr. Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America.

The conversation, a worship service and dinner is the inaugural public event of the TriFaith Initiative, a partnership of Omaha's Temple Israel, the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska, and the American Institute of Islamic Studies and Culture. the rest

Tony Dungy speaks about the family, faith, and virtue


The Indianapolis Colts head coach retired from the NFL in January. In response, Tyndale House rushed into print the 2007 Super Bowl champion's second book:
Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance.


Church of England clergy wanted for war-torn Sri Lanka

Friday, March 27, 2009

Clergy from the Church of England are being invited to provide respite for Sri Lankan priests in the war-torn country.

Clergy will be asked to take over from Sri Lankan clergy in safe regions, so that those clergy can provide respite for their countrymen in conflict zones.

Lanka Nesiah, speaking on behalf of Bishop Duleep de Chickera, in the Diocese of Colombo, explained: "There is a great need to provide relief to our clergy in the north and east.

"We will not place visiting clergy in conflict areas or expose them to any kind of danger. the rest

Albert Mohler: The Eclipse of Christian Memory

Friday, March 27, 2009

Christianity once formed the worldview of New England. While it was never true that all New Englanders were believing Christians, it is true that the worldview that gave birth to colonial America was explicitly Christian in substance and, most specifically, in moral commitments. That first era of New England history was pervasively Christian and pervasively Protestant. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, New England was reshaped by the arrival of millions of immigrants from Europe, and millions of these were Roman Catholics. Thus, by the arrival of the twentieth century, many New England neighborhoods and city centers were shaped, very noticeably, by Catholic moral teachings.

Now, in the as the first decade of the twenty-first century draws to a close, the increasingly secularized character of New England helps to explain why the region is now ground zero for same-sex marriage.

The moral teachings of Christianity have exerted an incalculable influence on Western civilization. As those moral teachings fade into cultural memory, a secularized morality takes its place. Once Christianity is abandoned by a significant portion of the population, the moral landscape necessarily changes. the rest


March 27, 2009

Freedom is out of fashion at Ground Zero.

Once hailed as a beacon of rebirth in the aftermath of Sept. 11, the Freedom Tower has been stripped of its patriotic name -- which has been swapped out for the more marketable "One World Trade Center," Port Authority officials conceded yesterday.

More than seven years after the terror attacks and amid an effort to market the tower to international tenants, sentiment gave way to practicality. the rest image

Obama's Indelicate Exposure

Friday, March 27, 2009
by Suzanne Fields

Like the beat beat beat of the tom-tom, like the tick tick tock of the clock, like the drip drip drip of the raindrops, a voice within me keeps repeating, Obama Obama Obama.

With all due apologies to the author, Cole Porter's lyrics of "Night and Day" make a point lost on the president. No matter where he is, the Oval Office or Jay Leno's studio set, addressing Congress or holding up traffic in a motorcade on his way to a PTA meeting, the president is not an ordinary citizen. Like it or not, those days are behind him. The private man and the public man become as one in a president. What he does, says, or doesn't say or doesn't do, he does it before an audience.

Obama goes out of his way to seek a celebrity's attention, and he's still in his first hundred days. When he makes an off-hand jest about his bowling score and the Special Olympics -- the sort of tasteless attempt at dark humor that anyone might make within a tight circle of good friends -- the whole world hears it, and the pundits can't wait to leap. We should all "lighten up," but if a president can't resist going on television to banter with a comedian, he ought to leave the comedy to the comedian, who gets paid for sarcasm and irony. the rest

First gay, openly partnered man ordained into priesthood

Some congregants weep with joy
by Kenneth Harvey, Editorial Intern
Thursday, 26-Mar-2009

The first openly gay and partnered man in the Diocese of San Diego has been ordained into the priesthood.

On March 21, All Souls’ Episcopal Church, ordained Rev. Thomas Wilson, who has served as a deacon there for the past six months.

“For us the issue was ‘Is he duly called to be a priest? And was he living a godly life?’” the rector, or head priest, of All Souls’ Church, Rev. Mike Russell said. “We were all able to say ‘yes’ to that.” the rest

Tea Party in Buffalo

TAXES: Activist Thompson to lead reform effort on Saturday
March 26, 2009
By Mark Scheer
The Tonawanda News

They are mad as hell at Albany and they aren’t going to take it anymore.

A group of frustrated Western New York taxpayers are planning to gather Saturday in Buffalo to demonstrate their displeasure with the New York state government and its political leaders.

The event - dubbed the Erie County and Western New York Tea Party - won’t actually involve any dumping of tea into Buffalo’s inner harbor, according to its lead organizer, long-time community advocate and Grand Island resident Rus Thompson. the rest

Conservatives prevented from speaking on college campuses

By Don Feder

Half of the audience of 300 came not to listen, question or debate, but to disrupt.

The mob scene was coordinated by the International Socialist Organization (a group found only on college campuses and in the Obama administration), the Pride Alliance, the Coalition Against Hate and the Campus Anti-War Network. Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and the Committee for Justice for Sacco and Vanzetti were conspicuous by their absence.

Not more than 20 seconds into my address, the catcalls and heckling began. A group of young scholars turned their backs on me – a potent argument to their way of thinking. I felt like I’d stepped into Mr. Peabody’s Wayback machine and been transported to my student days at Boston University, circa 1969.

The honorary citizens of Crete unfurled banners, waved signs, chanted slogans, shouted insults and taunts, jeered, laughed derisively and generally demonstrated the self-control of toddlers with Tourette syndrome.

Their signs read, “Hate Speech Leads to Hate Crimes” (this from people who insist there’s no connection between pornography and sex crimes), “Free Speech Does Not Equal Hate Speech” (who decides what speech should be censored in the name of countering hatred? They do, of course) and – my favorite – “Abolish Hate.” Bravo! After that, we can abolish lust, greed, sloth and unhygienic habits (though the protestors might consider that a personal attack). My terrier has taken to toting around a sign that says “Abolish Cats!” the rest

UK: Abortion ads on television

By Sean Poulter
26th March 2009

Abortion clinics are to be allowed to advertise on television and radio for the first time.
Condom manufacturers will also be permitted to broadcast advertisements at any time of the day or night.

At present they are banned from advertising before the 9pm watershed except on Channel 4, where the cut-off is 7.30pm.

The proposals by the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) will give Britain among the world's most liberal broadcasting regimes on sexual health services. the rest

Canadian Anglican and Catholic bishops battle over oil

Friday, 27th March 2009
By George Conger

The development of the Athabasca oil sands has led to dueling pastoral letters from Northern Alberta’s Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops. Bishop Luc Bouchard of the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Paul has called for a halt to mining, saying its development "constitutes a serious moral problem." However, Archbishop John Clarke of the Anglican Diocese of Athabasca has endorsed development, chastising those who were "vilifying one of the most exciting and challenging projects in Canadian history."

Spread across 54,000 sq miles of sparsely populated Northern Alberta, the Athabasca oil sands contain an estimated 1.7 trillion barrels of heavy oil or bitumen, and are roughly equal to the world’s total proven reserves of conventional petroleum. Commercial extraction of oil from the tar sands began in 1967, but recent developments in oil extraction technology as well as the spike in world petroleum prices has led to considerable private and government investment in the region. the rest

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Devotional: Pleading

O remember what my substance is; that I am:
dust and ashes, grass and a flower,
flesh and a wind that passeth away,
corruption and a worm,
like a stranger and a sojourner,
dwelling in a house of clay,
days few and evil, today and not tomorrow,
in the morning and not so long as till evening,
now and not presently,
in a body of death,
in a world of corruption,
lying in wickedness.
Remember this.
...Lancelot Andrewes
-found at Lent and Beyond

Grace Church breakaway becomes St. George's

March 26, 2009

The Anglican parish worshiping at Grace Church downtown for the past two years has a new name, new corporate identity, a future home and a hopeful attitude.

On Palm Sunday and Easter, the 1,200-member parish will worship at 2760 Fieldstone Road, a vacant building in the Mountain Shadows area that formerly housed the Renaissance Academy, a private school.

On Wednesday, the vestry chose a new name, St. George's Anglican Church, after a judge on Tuesday ordered that the parish must not only vacate the Gothic church at 631 N. Tejon St. but also no longer call itself Grace Church & St. Stephen's. the rest

President Obama: Learning the Hard Way

Barack Obama may at last be getting a grip. But he still needs to show more leadership, at home and abroad
Mar 26th 2009
From The Economist

But at home Mr Obama has had a difficult start. His performance has been weaker than those who endorsed his candidacy, including this newspaper, had hoped. Many of his strongest supporters—liberal columnists, prominent donors, Democratic Party stalwarts—have started to question him. As for those not so beholden, polls show that independent voters again prefer Republicans to Democrats, a startling reversal of fortune in just a few weeks. Mr Obama’s once-celestial approval ratings are about where George Bush’s were at this stage in his awful presidency. Despite his resounding electoral victory, his solid majorities in both chambers of Congress and the obvious goodwill of the bulk of the electorate, Mr Obama has seemed curiously feeble. Full story

Obama's Artful Dishonesty

The Language of Obamanomics

Anglican Leader Warns of Ecological 'Doomsday'

By Jennifer Gold
Christian Today Reporter
Thu, Mar. 26 2009

Speaking at a lecture in York Minster on Wednesday, Dr. Rowan Williams said wealthy countries had a responsibility to deal with environmental issues for the sake of the poorest in the world and for future generations.

“Ecological questions are increasingly being defined as issues of justice ... both to those who now have no part in decision-making at the global level yet bear the heaviest burdens as a consequence of the irresponsibility of wealthier nations, and to those who will succeed us on this planet – justice to our children and grandchildren,” said Williams, who speaks frequently about environmental issues. the rest

Lambeth’s £288,000 deficit due to incompetence

Thursday, 26th March 2009
By George Conger

Poor planning, inexperienced management, and weak financial controls contributed to a £288,000 deficit for the 2008 Lambeth Conference, a report released last week by the Archbishops' Council and the Church Commissioners has concluded.

The management team, conference structure and business practices were not up to the job, the report found, stating that the “arrangements in place for the 2008 conference were less robust than they needed to be.”

The conference's opaque management structure had left no one in charge, with the result that there had been a “disconnect between design on the one hand, and capacity and execution on the other.” The lack of clear lines of authority had led to cost overruns, with the financial team “not always aware” of the commitments made by conference management staff. Two examples cited by the report were the “failure to recognise a commitment for expenditure of £411,000 on the Big Top” the blue tent that served as the principle venue for conference meetings, and IT support.

The conference finance director “did not know” about the Big Top bill, while the conference “organiser did not know it was not in the budget.” Rather than charging a flat fee for internet usage by conference goers, the University of Kent changed the conference for individual log-ons, leading to a bill of £80,576---over £65,000 over budget. the rest

Meet Lila Rose: Taking on Goliath

by Deal W. Hudson

If you think the pro-life movement has run out of energy and new ideas, you should meet Lila Rose. You may not know her name, but you very likely have seen the media coverage of her various sting operations at Planned Parenthood clinics around the country.

Rose is 20 years old, but she is already entering her fourth year of covert operation, as it were, exposing the underhanded -- and, in some cases, potentially illegal -- practices at abortion clinics run by Planned Parenthood. She has already made appearances on The O'Reilly Factor and Hannity's America.

Posing as an underage pregnant girl, Rose has taken concealed audio and video equipment into these clinics. First, she makes sure the clinic personnel know she is underage and that the baby's father is an older man, repeating his name clearly. By law, the clinic personnel must then notify the police that the alleged father has had sex with a minor. the rest

Coalition condemns Obama's Notre Dame invitation

Madeline Buckley

A coalition of student groups formed an ad hoc committee to "lead student response" in condemning the University's invitation to President Barack Obama to deliver Notre Dame's 2009 Commencement address, according to a press release.

The coalition - including Notre Dame Right to Life, Notre Dame College Republicans, the Irish Rover student newspaper and six other campus groups - created a Web site, ndresponse.com, and released a formal statement Wednesday denouncing University President Fr. John Jenkin's choice of speaker.

"In response to the University's decision, we pledge ourselves to acts of witness that will be characterized by respect, prayerfulness, outspoken fidelity to the Church and true concern for the good of our University," the statement said of the coalition's purpose. the rest

WSJ Columnist and Notre Dame Alumnus Decries ND Response to Obama Scandal as "Moral Incoherence"

Trailer: Where the Wild Things Are

Albert Mohler: The Brand New Incredibly Old and Enduringly Faithful Concept of Church Planting

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Give Fred Barnes credit. He knows a good idea when he sees one. Writing for the "Houses of Worship" column of The Wall Street Journal, Barnes tells the story of how he and his wife came to leave The Falls Church near Washington, DC and then to join another congregation.

Barnes, one of the nation's best-known journalists, makes clear that he and his wife were not leaving The Falls Church out of a sense of frustration or disappointment. "We didn't leave in anger. We didn't have political or theological anxieties. Rather, we left for a new church because our old church wanted us to," Barnes relates. the rest

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Robert Gagnon: “What the Evidence Really Says about Scripture and Homosexual Practice: Five Issues.”


New York Palace Hotel boss gets the door after Ash Wednesday slur

By Kerry Burke and Oren Yaniv
Wednesday, March 25th 2009

The manager of one of the city's most luxurious hotels was given the boot after ordering a Catholic employee to clean up his forehead on Ash Wednesday.

"Wipe that f-----g s--t off your face," managing director Niklaus Leuenberger told a bell captain at the New York Palace Hotel on Feb. 25, sources said.

The unholy ultimatum ended up costing Leuenberger his job at the Palace, a swanky 55-story tower on Madison Ave. across the street from St. Patrick's Cathedral. the rest

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Devotional: O holy city, seen of John...

O holy city, seen of John,
where Christ, the Lamb, doth reign,
within whose foursquare walls shall come
no night, nor need, nor pain,
and where the tears are wiped from eyes
that shall not weep again!

Give us, O God, the strength to build
the city that hath stood
too long a dream, whose laws are love,
whose ways are brotherhood,
and where the sun that shineth is
God's grace for human good.

Already in the mind of God
that city riseth fair:
lo, how its splendor challenges
the souls that greatly dare--
yea, bids us seize the whole of life
and build its glory there.

...Walter Russel Bowie image

A.S. Haley: Fuzzy Logic and the Church We Know (II) - "Stealing" the Property

Monday, March 23, 2009

In January, Episcopal Life Online published a series of three opinion pieces on the subject of the lawsuits among Episcopalians over claims to church property. The first, by Church historian Joan Gundersen, argued the proposition that Episcopalians could not be faithful to their forbears if they allowed dissenters to leave and take Church assets with them, even when the dissenters constituted the majority of the parish. The second piece gave the views of the Rev. Timothy Safford, of Christ Church, Philadelphia: drawing lessons from Jesus' parables, he argued that the Church could accommodate the dissenters without alienating them, by allowing them to rent the property (or make the mortgage payments in lieu of rent), and should remain open to the possibility that they will one day return, like the prodigal son. The third piece, by the Rev. George Clifford of North Carolina, argued the Gospel view, and urged the Church to turn the other cheek. If the dissenters wanted to compensate the Church for the property, well and good, but if not, then the Church at least will have been witness to "a costly gift of love."

the rest

Archbishop Gomez: Covenant a Tough Sell in Divided Communion

March 24, 2009

As the Covenant Design Group readies its handiwork for deliberation by the Anglican Consultative Council, the group’s chairman acknowledges that selling a unity document to a divided communion will be neither automatic nor easy.

Retired West Indies’ Archbishop Drexel Wellington Gomez identified current Episcopal Church attitudes as a danger to ratification of the proposed Covenant.

Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori already has said General Convention this summer should decline to take up for consideration the design group’s yet-to-be perfected recommendations for measures aimed at respecting local autonomy while providing accountability for divisive actions.

“The Episcopal Church has its own agenda,” Archbishop Gomez said in Dallas March 22, “and that agenda does not have much accommodation with the rest of the Communion.” the rest

CANA Responds to Colorado Springs Ruling

HERNDON, Va. (March 24, 2009) – The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) issued a statement in response to the ruling issued today by the El Paso County District Court in Colorado Springs, CO, concerning the ownership of Grace Church & St. Stephen’s. Judge Larry Schwartz ruled that title to the property of Grace Church & St. Stephen's is vested in the Episcopal Church of the United States and in the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado.

“While we are of course disappointed with today’s ruling, we will continue with our ministry and mission work in Colorado Springs and around the nation,” said CANA Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns. “The Gospel is not spread by church buildings or church property. It is the living Christ that works in people, and we are praying for the orthodox Anglicans in Colorado Springs that the work of the Lord will continue.”

“We remain steadfast in our effort to defend the historic Christian faith across the country. There is clearly a division within The Episcopal Church which broke its relationship with the worldwide Anglican Communion and fell out of step with much of Christendom by choosing to redefine and reinterpret Scripture,” Minns concluded. link