Friday, July 31, 2009

Devotional: Prayer can only be appreciated...

Like art, like music, like so many other disciplines, prayer can only be appreciated when you actually spend time in it. Spending time with the Master will elevate your thinking. The more you pray, the more will be revealed. You will appreciate not only the greatness of prayer, but the greatness of God.
...Joni Eareckson Tada image

Convention issues raise tensions among Anglicans

By Peter Smith
July 31, 2009

By many accounts, votes at the recent General Convention of the Episcopal Church raised the already-high tensions between the predominately liberal denomination and its more conservative partners in the global Anglican Communion.

Bishop Ted Gulick of Kentucky sees the convention as finding "a very Anglican middle way" in these controversies, which have prompted several overseas Anglican leaders to declare their communion with the American church to be broken. Some American conservatives have created a rival Anglican denomination in the United States — including the former bishop of Fort Worth, where Gulick is now doing double duty as interim bishop.

In an interview in his Louisville office recently, Gulick discussed controversies in and around the 2.1 million-member Episcopal Church. Its General Convention, held every three years, took place earlier in July in Anaheim, Calif. the rest

SE Asia: Convention’s Actions ‘Repudiate Listening Process’

July 31, 2009

The Anglican Communion's newest province has condemned General Convention's approval of two resolutions, D025 and C056, regarding human sexuality.

“We are of the view that the passing of these two resolutions, when on a plain and ordinary reading, constitutes an abrogation by TEC of the agreed-to moratorium on the consecration of practicing homosexual clergy as bishops and rites of blessing for same-sex unions,” said a statement by the Standing Committee of the Synod of the Province of the Anglican Church in Southeast Asia.

“This effectively moves TEC irretrievably away from the orthodox position of the rest of the Anglican Communion as a whole on these issues,” the statement said. “This is a negative development. It is also a repudiation of the listening and consultation processes put in place in an attempt to resolve these issues.” the rest

South African Bishop Condemns Convention’s ‘Deliberate Defiance’

Rev. Phil Ashey on Archbishop Rowan Williams' essay on GenCon 2009

An Honest look at the Archbishop of Canterbury's essay on General Convention 2009: "Communion, Covenant and our Anglican Future"
(via AAC email update)
July 31,2009

There is much to affirm in the Archbishop of Canterbury's reflection on the 76th General Convention of The Episcopal Church:

- In response to assurances by the leadership of TEC that nothing has changed, his stated assessment that Resolutions D025 (gay bishops) and C056 (same sex blessings) will neither repair broken bridges with other provinces nor allay anxieties that these resolutions are prescriptive and not merely descriptive (para. 2);

- His declaration that "a blessing for a same sex union cannot have the authority of the Church Catholic or even of the Communion as a whole," and that persons living in such unions "cannot without serious incongruity have a representative function in a Church whose public teaching is at odds with their lifestyle." (paras. 8 and 9);

- His declaration that changes in societal attitudes are not reasons in and of themselves for changing the discipline of the Anglican Communion (para. 10);

- Reaffirmation of the venerable principle that "what affects the communion of all should be decided by all" (para. 13), that innovations in either sexuality or sacramental practice without regard to that principle threaten to end Anglicanism as a "theologically coherent community of Christian communities" (para. 18), and that local pastoral needs and "context" are insufficient to justify such unilateral action by a province (paras. 11-17).

On the other hand, despite the overwhelming evidence presented to him in our Primates Report, and the Presiding Bishop's opening declaration that confessional Christianity is a heresy, and Calvary merely a "waypoint" among other ways, it is not clear whether he recognizes that TEC's theological convictions are a false Gospel. Despite TEC's denial of the uniqueness and universality of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of all - a principle which the Church of England has affirmed at its General Synod (1) and which TEC specifically rejected at this General Convention - he seems to suggest that these "deeply held theological convictions" are well within Anglican Christianity and deserve respect! (paras. 24 and 26). And he is quick to reassure the innovators that "there is no threat of being cast into outer darkness" (para. 22).

In response to TEC's actions at GC 2009, Dr. Williams is advocating a "two-tracked" Anglican Communion. For those of us who watched him argue passionately for the paradigm of "Communion with autonomy and accountability" at ACC-14, his essay is a sad but necessary acknowledgement of the reality we have known for some time, that there is a "torn communion" dominated by TEC and its proxies, and a robust and growing "Confessing Communion" largely in the Global South.

The Bishop of Durham has addressed this subject in his analysis of Dr. Williams' statement:

"Many will not regard the language of a 'two-track' Communion as a strength. Some have objected that this is forcing apart what ought to be held together. Others, conversely, have sneered that 'two-track' sounds like a vote for pluralism pure and simple, a kind of ecclesial version of '70s pop-psych 'I'm OK, you're OK': you go your way, we go ours, and we're both just fine as we are. But the 'two-track' option is not intended as an indifferentist, shoulder-shrugging thing (though no doubt some who find themselves in the incipient Track Two will want to see it like that). To say 'two-tier', as some have done at earlier stages in the discussion, implies that the two are still 'tiers' of the same thing, whereas 'tracks' may be going in quite different directions. And it is one 'track' rather than the other which will possess the coherence to work together in full solidarity, not least in ecumenical relationships."

The real question is which Communion will the ABC choose to work with? Which one will he try to build the future of Anglicanism upon? If he is genuinely interested in an Anglican Communion which has at its heart covenanted provinces with "intensifying relationships," will he continue to legitimize the false gospel of TEC and its proxies? When they show up to the councils of the Communion (as they most certainly will) - to the Joint Standing Committee, the ACC, and inter-Anglican ministry networks - will he welcome them? Will he allow their representation to continue to undermine the very Covenant processes he publically champions? Or will he finally turn to the orthodox within the Communion and build with them upon their uninterrupted commitment to a vision of Anglicanism that is biblical, catholic and conciliar?

The false gospel of TEC presents a clear and present danger to the Anglican Communion. TEC considers it both a theological imperative of justice and a cultural imperative of "manifest destiny" for TEC's leadership to spread this false gospel to the rest of the Anglican Communion. It has already infected, perhaps fatally, some provinces in the Global North. Jesus said, "let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No,' 'No'" (Matt. 5:37) +Rowan Williams' "Yes and no" will not stop the spread of this false gospel - even and especially to the mother Church of England.

The Bishop of Durham seems to have finally recognized this imminent threat, and for this very reason asserts: "It is thus up to the Archbishop himself to move swiftly to implement what he himself has said, counting on support from bishops around his own Province and the whole Communion." Can we count on the Archbishop to consult with the orthodox Covenant-affirming Primates, especially the GAFCON Primates and FCA Bishops regarding implementation? Can we count on the Archbishop to work with the GAFCON Primates and FCA Bishops to provide the same Covenant connection and Alternative Oversight to the orthodox that those now in ACNA sought unsuccesfully from him - and the rest of the Communion, including the Bishop of Durham - for the last six years? In the face of his very public denunciation of "cross-provincial interventions," and the moral equivalency he drew between the actions of TEC and the pastoral response of the GAFCON Primates, can we expect the Archbishop to make an about-face?

What can we actually expect from the Archbishop of Canterbury?

The orthodox leaders of the "Confessing Communion" must now insist upon a robust theology of the Church that goes beyond the Ridley Cambridge Draft of the Proposed Covenant and beyond the Covenant processes. If the Archbishop of Canterbury wants to avoid the same unilateralism and colonialism imposed on the Communion by TEC, he must now actively work with the orthodox leaders of the "Confessing Communion" to address the theological and ecclesiological issues that will be at the heart of an Anglicanism for the next 100 years -an Anglicanism that will have the theological coherence to work together in full solidarity with our ecumenical partners.

We therefore renew our call to the Anglican Communion to prayer, and especially for theologians from the Confessing Communion to come together as soon as possible to both rebut TEC's distortion of the early church's baptismal theology and to articulate a theology of the church that will sustain a biblical, confessional and conciliar Anglicanism for the next 100 years. Pray for the leadership of the Confessing Communion to refuse to accept representation by TEC and other innovators in the very Councils and processes of the Anglican Communion that the innovators seek to subvert. Pray for Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury.

And to our friends, our North American brothers and sisters in Christ, who are being systematically litigated and canonically abused into oblivion, to those who with Jeremiah and Daniel-like callings remain in TEC to witness for the faith once delivered - and to those bishops, clergy and lay deputies with whom we broke bread, and prayed, and laughed and grieved every day at General Convention, please know this:

The American Anglican Council stands with you. We are praying for you. We thank God for your witness at General Convention. And we stand on God's promise for you and all of us in the Anglican Communion:

"'For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)

Yours in Christ,
The Rev. J. Philip Ashey, J.D.
COO & Chaplain, American Anglican Council

(1) the Church of England General Synod directed its House of Bishops at their February 2009 meeting to report back on "their understanding of the uniqueness of Christ in Britain's multi-faith society, and offer examples and commendations of good practice in sharing the gospel of salvation through Christ alone with people of other faiths and of none."

Bishop Minns' Pastoral Call to the CANA Council 2009

posted July 31, 2009

In the Name of God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen


It is a great privilege to be able to speak to you at this third CANA Council. I am so very grateful for your prayers and your presence here today. Who would have believed that we would come so far in such a short time? CANA has become a remarkable community of believers stretching across the USA and Canada and you are here as a testimony to the miracle that God is doing. I note with profound gratitude the distinguished guests who are with us at this Council, many of whom have traveled long distances to be with us. Thank you – you honor and bless us by your presence.

It has been almost a year since we met together in Ohio and throughout that time I have continued to give thanks for all of you. Your faith and courage have been an inspiration to me and I am reminded again of one of Paul’s prayers in Ephesians, “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” the rest

Report at BabyBlueOnline

CANA Council 2009

CANA Banner

Chancellors Raymond Dague and Hugo Blankingship

Bishop Martyn Minns giving plenary address

Bp. Bena speaking at luncheon

Evening prayer on July 30, 2009

CANA Chancellor Scott Ward and Atty. Greg Baylor talk on threats to religious liberty.

Morning prayer 7/30/09

Raymond and I are attending CANA Council along with our rector Jeff Altman+ and his wife Meredith plus four other members of the Church of the Holy Trinity, Syracuse NY . Pictures by Raymond Dague

Statement by Province of Southeast Asia Standing Committee


The Standing Committee of the Synod of the Province of the Anglican Church in Southeast Asia, meeting in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia on 29 and 30 July 2009, noted the passing of resolutions DO25 and CO56 of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church (“TEC”) in the United States of America.

We are of the view that the passing of these 2 resolutions, when on a plain and ordinary reading, constitutes an abrogation by TEC of the agreed-to moratorium on the consecration of practising homosexual clergy as bishops and rites of blessing for same-sex unions. This effectively moves TEC irretrievably away from the orthodox position of the rest of the Anglican Communion as a whole on these issues. This is a negative development. It is also a repudiation of the listening and consultation processes put in place in an attempt to resolve these issues.

We reiterate that the basis of the common heritage shared through membership of the worldwide Anglican Communion is best reflected by the proposed Anglican Covenant, which we wholly support. The proposed Anglican Covenant encompasses our basic shared beliefs and traditions. It represents the most basic statement of what we consider to be acceptable for resolving the present predicament facing the Anglican Communion and moving forward. We hope that the Anglican Covenant will be endorsed by the provinces in the Anglican Communion within the next 12 months.

We also wish to re-affirm those orthodox parishes and dioceses within TEC who have chosen to remain within the existing structures. We believe that the Anglican Covenant is appropriately inclusive so as to allow for their continued membership within the Anglican Communion. We would like to assure them of our continued support and prayers. link

President Barack Obama Awards Abortion Advocates With Medal of Freedom

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 30, 2009

Washington, DC ( -- President Barack Obama today named 16 recipients of the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest civilian honor that can be bestowed on its citizens. Obama's group of recipients includes abortion advocates who have repeatedly earned condemnation from the pro-life movement.

In a statement received, the White House said the medals were awarded to recipients who "make an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States."

The recipients were said to have promoted "world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors" and "were chosen for their work as agents of change" and because they "have changed the world for the better." the rest

Gordian 'knot' for evangelicals

By Julia
Thursday, July 30, 2009

It's been more than two years since I adopted a little girl and entered the world of single-momhood. Recently, my child, now 4, has decided she wants a daddy.

You and me both, I tell her.

Tying the knot is quite difficult these days for many women, especially those who belong to any sort of ethnic minority or subgroup. I've been an evangelical Christian since my teens, but even back then, in my high school Young Life group, it was hard to not notice the fact that we girls far outnumbered the boys.

The ratios got worse the older I grew. In an article titled "The Case for Early Marriage" in the most recent issue of Christianity Today, an evangelical monthly, the author estimates the ratio of single women to men in church is 3-to-2. I'd say the true ratio on the ground is more like 5-to-1.

The problem with evangelicals, author Mark Regnerus says, is that they value marriage less than individual freedom, which is why their 20-somethings are encouraged to get out in the world, travel and find themselves before marrying. As a result, he says, young evangelicals are marrying later - if at all, but 80 percent are having premarital sex.

All the abstinence pledges in the world, he adds, aren't going to change this. Early marriage will. the rest

Teaching Kids to Kill Embryos

A New Generation of Stem Cell Workers
July 31, 2009

“No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!” —President Ronald Reagan

Life Legal Defense Foundation continues to watchdog the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and in doing so found the latest attempt to promulgate embryonic stem cell research by “educating” children.

Let us introduce you to Senate Bill 471. Titled “The California Stem Cell and Biotechnology Education and Workforce Development Act of 2009,” the purpose of SB 471 is purportedly to train up a new generation of biotechnology workers. It promotes stronger links among industry sectors, the regenerative medicine institute, and California public schools. the rest

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Devotional: Surely He will come a second time...

I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice. John 16:22

Surely He will come a second time, and then, when He sees us and we see Him, there will be rejoicings indeed. Oh, for that joyous return! But this promise is being daily fulfilled in another sense. Our gracious Lord has many "agains" in His dealings with us. He gave us pardon, and He sees us again and repeats the absolving word as fresh sins cause us grief. He has revealed to us our acceptance before God, and when our faith in that blessing grows a little dim, He comes to us again and again and says, "Peace be unto you," and our hearts are glad. ...CH Spurgeon
image wildxplorer

Murdered Catholic Priest's Body Found on Roadside in India

By Joseph Keenan
CP South and Southeast Asia Correspondent
Thu, Jul. 30 2009

A Catholic priest was found murdered in a remote place on the side of a road in a village near Mangalore in the southern Indian state of Karnataka on Thursday. Law Sought to Ban Conversions in One More Indian State

A Christian advocacy group is calling on the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate the "clear case of murder."

Father James Mukalel, 39, priest of the Belthangady diocese in Karnataka, was killed when he was returning to his parish, after attending the funeral of one of his earlier parishioners in Thottathady village, Daiji World local online news reported. the rest

'Stimulus' grants going to porn producers?

Charlie Butts and Jody Brown

Editor's note: This story contains descriptions that some may find offensive.

"Stimulus" funds awarded to the National Endowment for the Arts may be being used to produce pornographic material.

The NEA was allotted $80 million out of the $787-trillion stimulus bill approved earlier this year by Congress and President Obama. Alliance Defense Fund special counsel Pat Trueman shares what he found upon close examination of the NEA's expenditures.

"The National Endowment for the Arts is using money from the stimulus bill, which was supposed to create economic activity, for the production of pornography," he states. "They've specifically given grants to companies that they know produce pornography -- primarily homosexual pornography." the rest

Archbishop’s TEC response reveals division

Thursday, 30th July 2009
By Matt Cresswell

Different visions of the future Communion have been provoked by the response of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, to the Episcopal Church’s recent convention.

Debate has intensified over whether TEC should be given the green light to establish itself in the UK, following the two tracks of the Communion referred to by the Archbishop.

Commenting on Dr Rowan Williams’ 26 point reaction to TEC’s decision to part from the moratorium placed upon them by the Communion, the Rev Giles Fraser, chair of Inclusive Church and soon to be canon chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, said he respected the Archbishop’s sensitivity on the matter but believed much of Dr William’s response to be ‘hypocritical’. “It [the response] says that you can’t liturgically acknowledge same-sex unions because this would be, in a sense, liturgical acknowledgment of sex outside of marriage,” he said. the rest

Rowan’s Reflections: Unpacking the Archbishop’s Statement

Written by Dr NT Wright (in collaboration with ACI and Fulcrum)
Thursday, July 30th, 2009


1.In the two days since the Archbishop released his ‘Reflections’ on TEC’s General Convention, they have already generated widely differing responses. We always knew, say some conservatives, that the ABC was a hopeless liberal, and this has confirmed it. Not so, declare many horrified radicals: he has obviously sold out to the conservatives. Some have warmly welcomed the statement and hailed it as paving the way forward. Cautious voices in between are trying to discern strengths and weaknesses. In my view, there is much to welcome, and much whose implications need further unpacking. The two main sections of this paper deal with these two aspects.

2.I have tried to bear in mind that the Archbishop is himself not only an Instrument of Unity but the one which has to hold on to everything at this moment. Lambeth 2008 didn’t say much (apart from what the ABC himself said); the status of ACC and Primates are under question in various quarters; it is up to him. He therefore has an obligation to maintain as broad a conversation as possible, and that is continually to be seen in his statement. As often (for instance in his poems, and in his recent book on Dostoevsky) the Archbishop’s writing challenges its readers to pause, to ponder, to think things through. One commentator has suggested that he employs a characteristically British habit of inviting the reader to draw the really important conclusions and giving them the space to do so. This piece is an attempt to take up that challenge and invitation.Welcome. the rest

Chinese evangelists flourish in Paris

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ensconced in an unassuming hotel behind the main drag of Paris' Belleville district, 100 or so Chinese believers sing and sway, eyes closed and arms out, in a display of worship frowned upon in their atheist home country.

With rules on immigration easing on mainland Chinese coming to study and work in France, many are seeking out churches in Paris to ward off their feelings of isolation in a foreign land.

"There are a lot of students coming over from mainland China who feel lonely due to the language barrier, and seem to be searching for something," said an assistant at Paris' Chinese Evangelical Church surnamed Lee.

"A lot come to us to see if they can accept religion into their lives," said Lee, who left Taiwan for France in the 1960s. the rest

Divorce takes health toll that remarriage can't heal, study says

July 28, 2009
By Madison Park

(CNN) -- Divorce causes more than bitterness and broken hearts. The trauma of a split can leave long-lasting effects on mental and physical health that remarriage might not repair, according to research released this week.

"People who lose a marriage take such damage to their health," said Linda Waite, a sociologist at the University of Chicago in Illinois.

Waite and co-author Mary Elizabeth Hughes, of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, found that divorced or widowed people have 20 percent more chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer than married people. They also have 23 percent more mobility limitations, such as trouble climbing stairs or walking a block. the rest

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Obama’s Science Czar Said a Born Baby ‘Will Ultimately Develop Into a Human Being’

Tuesday, July 28, 2009
By Terence P. Jeffrey, Editor-in-Chief - President Obama’s top science adviser said in a book he co-authored in 1973 that a newborn child “will ultimately develop into a human being” if he or she is properly fed and socialized.

“The fetus, given the opportunity to develop properly before birth, and given the essential early socializing experiences and sufficient nourishing food during the crucial early years after birth, will ultimately develop into a human being,” John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, wrote in “Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions.” the rest

Anglican relationships with other religions are ‘damaged’

Wednesday, 29th July 2009. 11:28am
By George Conger

A “disruption of fellowship” will likely result from the actions of the 76th General Convention, predicted the Bishop of Rochester in an American newspaper this week.

Writing in the Washington Times on July 27, the Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir Ali said the General Convention’s actions “will have caused a schism despite repeated entreaties by the rest of the communion not to take unilateral action that contravenes the teaching of the Bible, the unanimous teaching of the church down the ages and the understanding of the vast majority of Christians today. “

Bishop Nazir Ali declined to speculate on what actions would be taken on a communion wide level, but noted “there can be little doubt” that the votes to junk the moratoria on gay bishops and blessings will “further damage” fellowship among Anglicans and will spur “more talk of the rupture, impairment of communion and the like.” the rest

Anglicans oppose Sharia law in Kenya

1 Quadriplegic = Half a Human Life, 1 Teen = Fourteen 85 Year Olds

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

That is the assumption behind a benchmark some, including Peter Singer, are urging for inclusion in any overhaul of the U.S. health system. It's called QALY or Quality of Life Years and the U.S. government has already endorsed it by including substantial funds for research on the concept in the "stimulus" bill. Here's how Peter Singer explained it in the New York Times:

As a first take, we might say that the good achieved by health care is the number of lives saved. But that is too crude. The death of a teenager is a greater tragedy than the death of an 85-year-old, and this should be reflected in our priorities. We can accommodate that difference by calculating the number of life-years saved, rather than simply the number of lives saved. If a teenager can be expected to live another 70 years, saving her life counts as a gain of 70 life-years, whereas if a person of 85 can be expected to live another 5 years, then saving the 85-year-old will count as a gain of only 5 life-years. That suggests that saving one teenager is equivalent to saving 14 85-year-olds. the rest

Girl with Half Her Brain Missing Lives Normal Life: Researchers Amazed

Breast Cancer Risk 66% Higher in Turkish Women with Abortions

Wednesday July 29, 2009
By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

ISTANBUL, July 28, 2009 ( - A study conducted by Dr. Vahit Ozmen and his colleagues at the Istanbul University Medical Faculty reported a statistically significant 66% increase in breast cancer risk among women who had induced abortions. The researchers wrote that their finding is similar to the findings of the "majority" of studies, which have "reported that induced abortion was associated with increased breast cancer risk."

However, the study also found that spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) and the use of oral contraceptives was associated with the decreased risk of breast cancer - a finding that the researchers said contradicts the results of numerous other studies, necessitating further study.

The researchers conducted a survey among women admitted to clinics of the Istanbul Medical Faculty for examination and/or treatment of cancer related illness. The results were compared with control cases admitted to hospital for non-cancer, non-hormone related diseases. the rest

Anglican leader's concern for unity reflects Vatican concerns

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Vatican concerns about how some recent decisions of the U.S. Episcopal Church will impact the search for full Anglican-Roman Catholic unity are echoed in a reflection by Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, the head of the Anglican Communion.

Writing July 27 about the Episcopal Church's recent general convention, Archbishop Williams repeatedly referred to the need to keep in mind the ecumenical implications of local church decisions in addition to their impact on the unity of the Anglican Communion as a whole.

Archbishop Williams' reflection, titled "Communion, Covenant and Our Anglican Future," was published on the archbishop's Web site here .

In a statement July 29, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity noted Archbishop Williams' concern for maintaining the unity of the Anglican Communion through common faith and practice based on Scripture and tradition.

The Vatican office "supports the archbishop in his desire to strengthen these bonds of communion, and to articulate more fully the relationship between the local and the universal within the church," the statement said.

"It is our prayer that the Anglican Communion, even in this difficult situation, may find a way to maintain its unity and its witness to Christ as a worldwide communion," it added. the rest

TLC: Vatican Backs Archbishop Williams’ Response to Convention Actions

Forward in Faith 'in talks with Vatican'

By Damian Thompson
July 28th, 2009

A well-connected Rome source reports that Forward in Faith, the umbrella group for conservative Anglo-Catholics in the C of E, is talking to the Vatican about corporate union. Here’s the odd thing about the rumour: it claims that Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna is meeting with Bishop John Broadhurst of Fulham at the suggestion of the Holy Father.

The model for the move to Rome could be the proposed reception of the Traditional Anglican Communion into the Catholic Church. But Broadhurst has very firmly denied that Forward in Faith is throwing in its lot with the TAC, a rebel Anglican group that has already submitted to the Magisterium. the rest

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Devotional: We are half-hearted creatures...

If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. ...CS Lewis Weight of Glory image Randy Son of Robert

Is Nationalized Health Care a Death Snare?

Abortion Haunting Obama

A Human "Thunderstorm"

Found at Secondhand Smoke

Jordan Hylden: Rowan Williams and the Anglican Future

First Things
July 28, 2009

Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury, has issued his much-awaited response to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church: “Communion, Covenant, and our Anglican Future.” Although it’s not as lengthy as Pope Benedict’s recent encyclical, it’s sure to be parsed almost as carefully and debated nearly with the same intensity by Anglicans throughout the world. The letter is worthy of such scrutiny: As he has done so often in the past, Archbishop Williams has given us both a substantively theological read of the present moment and a sound and hopeful way forward for the Anglican Communion.

For those keeping score, the leadership of the Episcopal Church—including the Presiding Bishop, the president of the House of Deputies, and the church’s chief ecumenical officer—had attempted to argue that the actions of their General Convention didn’t go against the repeated requests of the wider Anglican Communion to stop progress on same-sex blessings and partnered gay bishops. Williams was not convinced: “The repeated request for moratoria on the election of partnered gay clergy as bishops and on liturgical recognition of same-sex partnerships has clearly not found universal favor,” he wrote. In short: The communion’s request for moratoria has been answered, and the answer is “No.”

In fact, as Williams argues, to change the received Anglican position on sexual ethics would require a quite sharp re-thinking of biblical teaching, something that even if possible would require a level of consensus among Anglicans and ecumenical partners that simply has not been reached. “In the light of the way in which the Church has consistently read the Bible for the last two thousand years,” says Williams, “it is clear that a positive answer to this question would have to be based on the most painstaking biblical exegesis and on a wide acceptance of the results within the Communion, with due account taken of the teachings of ecumenical partners also. A major change naturally needs a strong level of consensus and solid theological grounding.” There is therefore no warrant for moving forward on this issue as a province, diocese, or parish. the rest

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams speaks of 'two-tier' church

He outlines a different role for the Episcopal Church within the worldwide Anglican Communion.
By Duke Helfand
July 27, 2009

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams suggested Monday that the Episcopal Church might have to accept a different role within the worldwide Anglican Communion amid U.S. leaders' decision to lift a de facto ban on gay bishops and to consider rites of blessing for same-sex unions.

Williams outlined his concerns in a statement to leaders throughout the communion, saying "very serious anxieties have already been expressed" among the 77 million Anglicans. The Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of Anglicanism, adopted the new policies during a 10-day convention in Anaheim that ended July 17. the rest

NYT: Facing Gay Rift, Anglican Sees ‘Two-Track’ Church

The Approaching Apocalypse

A unique visual show inspired by a Birmingham artist brings the 'Book of Revelation' alive to the 21st Century audience.
28 July 2009

For centuries men and women have prophesied the end of the world - inspired principally by the word imagery of the biblical ‘Book of Revelation’. The prophecies of Armageddon, plagues, earthquakes, flames, doomsday and 666 the sign of the beast resonate not only with Christians.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Orthodox Anglicans to Address Tough Issues Facing Americans

CANA Council will Focus on Responding to Challenges of Islam in America, Realities of Bad Economy, and Threats to Religious Freedom

HERNDON, Va. (July 27, 2009) – This week, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America will hold its annual council meeting featuring as keynote speakers Dr. Steve Garber of the Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation, and Culture and the Most Rev’d Ignatius Kattey, Regional Archbishop of the Church of Nigeria. The Rev’d Canon Julian Dobbs also will be a featured speaker, addressing the challenge of Islam to Christians in the U.S. As CANA continues to grow throughout the United States and serve as a leading voice in the orthodox Christian movement, speakers will tackle tough issues such as:

Threats to religious freedom
The growth of Islam in the U.S.
The future of CANA and the Anglican Church in North America
Caring for the poor and the jobless
Raising up new Anglican leaders and planting churches

“Since CANA continues to grow both spiritually and in the number of congregations, we must address the issues we face in modern society to ensure that orthodox Anglicanism remains a sanctuary for those wishing to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and experience profound transformation through Him,” said the Rt. Rev’d Martyn Minns , Missionary Bishop of CANA, who will give a Friday address to the Council on the growth of CANA and orthodox Anglicanism in the U.S.

CANA Council is an annual gathering of clergy and lay delegates from member parishes across the county. The meeting will take place at CANA’s headquarters located at Church of the Epiphany in Herndon , Va. , from July 30 – August 1, 2009. The Council will conclude with a festival Eucharist on Saturday that will include the ordination of several new CANA chaplains. More details can be found on the CANA website Here.

Northern Michigan Bishop-elect Fails to Gain Consents

July 27, 2009

The Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester, bishop-elect of the Diocese of Northern Michigan, has not received sufficient consents from the standing committees or bishops of The Episcopal Church.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori informed Linda Piper, president of the diocese’s standing committee, of the insufficient consents in a letter released Monday afternoon by the church’s Office of Public Affairs.

The Presiding Bishop’s letter said that Fr. Thew Forrester, who was elected on Feb. 21, had not received sufficient consents from a majority of the church’s standing committees within a 120-day deadline set by church law.

The letter did not address consents among the bishops. “My understanding is that he did not receive sufficient consents among the bishops either,” Neva Rae Fox, the church’s public affairs officer, told The Living Church.

Ms. Fox said the Presiding Bishop’s office will not release specific consent tallies among either standing committees or bishops. the rest

Is Nationalized Health Care a Death Snare?

A.S. Haley: Ex Cathedra

Monday, July 27, 2009

One week to the day after he was expected to deliver it, the Archbishop of Canterbury has now published his reaction to the events at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church (USA) in Anaheim. Not reaction, actually, but reflections --- because Dr. Williams never reacts; he reflects.

There will be commentary enough in the Anglican blogworld about the layers of meaning discoverable in his statement. What I would like to do here is to juxtapose his remarks with the requests delivered to him by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson. On July 16, with the Convention not yet concluded, they first wrote to him as follows concerning the enactment of Resolution D 025: the rest

Archbishop of Canterbury attempts to paper over Church schism

From The Times
July 27, 2009
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

The Archbishop of Canterbury today tried to paper over the cracks as he acknowledged the Anglican church is in schism in all but name.

Dr Rowan Williams called for a “two-track” communion where the church is divided on the issue of homosexuality.

He asked the arrangement be seen not in “apocalyptic terms of schism and excommunication” but rather as “two styles of being Anglican”. Faith bloggers have labelled the opposing factions the “Anglicans” and “Anglican’ts”.

In his response to the decisions earlier this month by The Episcopal Church of the US to go ahead with gay consecrations and same-sex blessings, Dr Williams refuses to accept what many believe to be the reality of schism. the rest

Ruth Gledhill's blog: Archbishop Rowan and TEC: Two-track communion the way forward

AP: Anglican Church may have 'two track' structure

Christianity Today: Just Shy of Schism, Anglicans May Sub-Divide

Telegraph: Archbishop of Canterbury foresees 'two-track' church to avoid gay schism

+ Rowan Williams: Reflections on the Episcopal Church's 2009 General Convention

Communion, Covenant and our Anglican Future
Monday 27 July 2009

Reflections on the Episcopal Church's 2009 General Convention from the Archbishop of Canterbury for the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the Anglican Communion.

4. The first is to do with the arguments most often used against the moratoria relating to same-sex unions. Appeal is made to the fundamental human rights dimension of attitudes to LGBT people, and to the impossibility of betraying their proper expectations of a Christian body which has courageously supported them.

5. In response, it needs to be made absolutely clear that, on the basis of repeated statements at the highest levels of the Communion's life, no Anglican has any business reinforcing prejudice against LGBT people, questioning their human dignity and civil liberties or their place within the Body of Christ. Our overall record as a Communion has not been consistent in this respect and this needs to be acknowledged with penitence.

6. However, the issue is not simply about civil liberties or human dignity or even about pastoral sensitivity to the freedom of individual Christians to form their consciences on this matter. It is about whether the Church is free to recognise same-sex unions by means of public blessings that are seen as being, at the very least, analogous to Christian marriage.

7. In the light of the way in which the Church has consistently read the Bible for the last two thousand years, it is clear that a positive answer to this question would have to be based on the most painstaking biblical exegesis and on a wide acceptance of the results within the Communion, with due account taken of the teachings of ecumenical partners also. A major change naturally needs a strong level of consensus and solid theological grounding.

8. This is not our situation in the Communion. Thus a blessing for a same-sex union cannot have the authority of the Church Catholic, or even of the Communion as a whole. And if this is the case, a person living in such a union is in the same case as a heterosexual person living in a sexual relationship outside the marriage bond; whatever the human respect and pastoral sensitivity such persons must be given, their chosen lifestyle is not one that the Church's teaching sanctions, and thus it is hard to see how they can act in the necessarily representative role that the ordained ministry, especially the episcopate, requires.

9. In other words, the question is not a simple one of human rights or human dignity. It is that a certain choice of lifestyle has certain consequences. So long as the Church Catholic, or even the Communion as a whole does not bless same-sex unions, a person living in such a union cannot without serious incongruity have a representative function in a Church whose public teaching is at odds with their lifestyle. (There is also an unavoidable difficulty over whether someone belonging to a local church in which practice has been changed in respect of same-sex unions is able to represent the Communion's voice and perspective in, for example, international ecumenical encounters.)

10. This is not a matter that can be wholly determined by what society at large considers usual or acceptable or determines to be legal. Prejudice and violence against LGBT people are sinful and disgraceful when society at large is intolerant of such people; if the Church has echoed the harshness of the law and of popular bigotry – as it so often has done – and justified itself by pointing to what society took for granted, it has been wrong to do so. But on the same basis, if society changes its attitudes, that change does not of itself count as a reason for the Church to change its discipline. the rest

Comments at TitusOneNine

Comments at Stand Firm

Albert Mohler: The Culture of Offendedness?

Monday, July 27, 2009

A new and unprecedented right is now the central focus of legal, procedural, and cultural concern in many corridors--a supposed right not to be offended. The cultural momentum behind this purported "right" is growing fast, and the logic of this movement has taken hold in many universities, legal circles, and interest groups.

The larger world received a rude introduction to the logic of offendedness when riots broke out in many European cities, prompted by a Dutch newspaper's publishing of cartoons that reportedly mocked the Prophet Muhammad. The logic of the riots was that Muslims deserved never to be offended by any insult, real or perceived, directed to their belief system. Unthinking Christians may fall into the same pattern of claiming offendedness whenever we face opposition to our faith or criticism of our beliefs. The risk of being offended is simply part of what it means to live in a diverse culture that honors and celebrates free speech. A right to free speech means a right to offend, otherwise the right would need no protection. the rest


Terry L. Brown
Whispers of the Spirit

Apostasy is a strong word. It is a word with a direct correlation with the Anti-Christ. Hence, it should not be used lightly in connection with a person, church, or denomination. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 says: “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come (the second coming of Christ) unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God” (NASU). The ESV translates “apostasy” as “rebellion”. Apostasy is an active rebellion against the true God (and thus, the truth) which leads to the ascension of false gods and false teachings within the heart of the Believer and within the doctrines of a church or denomination.

Therefore, to say a person or organization is guilty of apostasy is a serious accusation. But to remain silent and turn a blind eye to the truth when doing so has the potential to damage, if not destroy the spiritual life of others is even more serious. Thus, I am compelled by my conscience to speak words that may offend and anger some. That is not my intent, but I cannot remain silent when so much is at stake.

The Episcopal Church (TEC) is guilty of apostasy. The denomination is fracturing over the issue of homosexuality. In 2003 V. Gene Robinson was consecrated by TEC as the bishop of New Hampshire. That ignited a firestorm that had been smoldering for years. the rest

Church weddings for gay Episcopalians?

Video: Bp. Andrew Smith of Connecticut

by Michael Paulson
July 24, 2009

In Tuesday's paper, I had a story taking an early look at what the Episcopal dioceses in the states where same-sex marriage is legal -- New England and Iowa -- will do now that the Episcopal Church, at its general convention last week, granted more leeway to bishops in those dioceses. The bishops I spoke with said they are still pondering their next steps, but they are clearly looking for ways to go further than they have in the past in allowing celebrations of same-sex weddings in Episcopal churches.

Here is the relevant part of C056, the resolution adopted by the Episcopal Church's general convention on liturgies for blessings of same-sex unions:

"Resolved, That bishops, particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this Church." the rest

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Devotional: We need never shout...

We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts. ...AW Tozer image

Pyongyang using disabled children to test chemical and biological weapons


Seoul (AsiaNews) – Pyongyang is testing its “biological and chemical weapons” on “humans, specifically mentally or physically handicapped children,” a former officer in the North Korean military who defected to South Korea is quoted as saying on the al-Jazeera website. In the interview the defector said that Pyongyang has estimated stockpile of more than 5,000 tonnes of biochemical weaponry, including mustard gas, nerve agents such as sarin, anthrax and cholera.

Im Chun-yong is a former captain in the North Korean military who fled in 1999 with a number of soldiers. He swam across the half frozen Tumen River into China. During their escape he and his men battled their way out, chased by dozens of members of other commando units. “I myself killed three men,” he told al-Jazeera.

He now lives in South Korea and devotes his time to gathering intelligence about the North's military capabilities

"If you are born mentally or physically deficient,” Im said, “the government says your best contribution to society . . . is as a guinea pig for biological and chemical weapons testing.” the rest

Canada: Deep divide over sexuality continues

Marites N. Sison
staff writer
Jul 22, 2009

The decision by the diocese of Niagara to offer same-sex blessings has drawn mixed reactions from Anglicans in Canada.

Similarly, backlash over the recent decision by the Episcopal Church (TEC) to affirm the openness of “any ordained ministry” to gay and lesbian people and to develop more liturgical resources for same-sex blessings reflects the continuing deep divide over sexuality in the Anglican Communion.

“As a bishop, I cannot recognize the legitimacy of what Niagara is doing,” said Bishop Bill Anderson of the diocese of Caledonia. “I sadly conclude that Niagara has chosen to walk apart, and is therefore in a state of impaired communion.”

In an interview, Bishop Anderson said “bishops simply do not have the spiritual, theological or canonical authority to change the teaching of the church at the local level, however much their diocesan synods may do so.” He added that this point was “clearly articulated” by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, at the 2008 Lambeth Conference, the decennial gathering the world’s Anglican bishops. the rest

UK: Gallery’s invitation to deface the Bible brings obscene response

The Times
July 23, 2009
Mike Wade

A publicly funded exhibition is encouraging people to deface the Bible in the name of art — and visitors have responded with abuse and obscenity.

The show includes a video of a woman ripping pages from the Bible and stuffing them into her bra, knickers and mouth.

The open Bible is a central part of Made in God’s Image, an exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art (Goma) in Glasgow. By the book is a container of pens and a notice saying: “If you feel you have been excluded from the Bible, please write your way back into it.” the rest

Palin Steps Down As Alaska's Governor

Jul 26 2009

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Sarah Palin stepped down Sunday as Alaska governor to write a book and build a right-of-center coalition, but she left her long-term political plans unclear and refused to address speculation she would seek a 2012 presidential bid.

Her first order of business as a private citizen is to speak Aug. 8 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. She also wants to campaign for political candidates from coast to coast, and continue to speak her mind on the social networking site Twitter. the rest

Churches attempt to heal after split

Episcopal dioceses' 'divorce' necessary, tough, members say
Sunday, July 26, 2009
By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

As the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh neared a split, Betsy Hetzler could not follow her beloved Church of the Atonement in Carnegie out of the Episcopal Church.

She moved to the Church of the Nativity in Crafton, but she still supports Atonement's rummage sales and collects the baby items that it gives to her favorite charity.

"I have friends there, but I feel a release not being there any more. My heart is in the parish where I belong now," she said.

Such words come from both sides after the Oct. 4 vote by the Diocese of Pittsburgh to secede from the 2.1 million-member Episcopal Church, one of 38 provinces in the 80 million-member Anglican Communion, a global body of churches that grew out of the Church of England. The vote hinged on whether the denomination had abandoned biblical faith in matters ranging from salvation to sexuality. the rest

Doctor sacked over gay adoptions reinstated

A Christian doctor who was sacked from an adoption panel for her views on homosexual parents has been allowed to resume her work following a public outcry.
By Patrick Sawer
25 Jul 2009

The Sunday Telegraph revealed last week that Dr Sheila Matthews had been removed from Northamptonshire county council's adoption panel because she was not willing to recommend gay couples as suitable candidates to become adoptive parents.

However, following protests, Northamptonshire has now decided that she can continue with the central part of her role – conducting medical examinations of would-be adoptive parents and children waiting to be adopted. She will not be allowed to take part in the adoption panel's votes on whether candidates would make suitable parents. the rest

Friday, July 24, 2009

Devotional: Absolute abandonment to God...

If there be anything that is capable of setting the soul in a large place it is absolute abandonment to God. It diffuses in the soul a peace that flows like a river and the righteousness which is as the waves of the sea. ...Francois Fenelon image by David Sifry

Will Internet Free Speech Crackdowns Come to America?

As Canada and Australia seek broad surveillance powers over the web, an Obama advisor wants to eliminate "destructive falsehoods" online.
July 24, 2009
by Kathy Shaidle

We don’t hear much about “the Anglosphere” anymore. The term was coined after 9/11 to distinguish freedom-loving Western allies from those nations sympathetic or indifferent to Islamic jihad.

Sadly, the Anglosphere’s cheerleaders have since learned that the West isn’t always a reliable champion of liberty, either. Two “Anglospheric” nations in particular — Australia and Canada — have revealed a troubling urge to stifle free speech, especially on the Internet.

Recently, for example, Canada’s ruling Conservative government introduced the Investigative Powers for the 21st Century (IP21C) Act.

The act, observes Dr. Michael Geist, “is pretty much exactly what law enforcement has been demanding and privacy groups have been fearing.” the rest

Bishops Discuss Paradoxical Votes on Consecrations, Blessings

Douglas LeBlanc
July 24, 2009

As General Convention debated its two most-examined resolutions in July, about ten bishops cast paradoxical votes.

Most of these bishops voted against Resolution D025, which reopens the possibility of consecration for openly gay or lesbian bishops. In contrast, most also voted for C056, which authorizes the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to “collect and develop theological and liturgical resources” for blessing same-gender couples, and allows a “generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this church.”

Some bishops discussed their votes with The LivingChurch. Others spoke only through letters they wrote to the clergy and laity of their dioceses. Others did not elaborate on their votes.

The Rt. Rev. John Rabb, Bishop Suffragan in the Diocese of Maryland, said he was pleased by most of D025 but that its final resolve left him unsatisfied.

“My fear was that it will be read as prescriptive, and that made me uncomfortable,” he said. the rest

A.S. Haley: Brace Yourselves in San Joaquin - Sound and Fury Follows

July 23, 2009

Word has just been received that the Fresno County Superior Court has affirmed its earlier tentative ruling granting the plaintiff ECUSA's and Bishop Jerry Lamb's motion for summary adjudication of the first cause of action in their second amended complaint. The court issued its final ruling after having held the matter under submission for 77 days. The court heard extensive oral arguments on the motion on May 5, after having postponed the hearing six times since February 25 until it issued its tentative decision in the plaintiffs' favor. (As an informal indication of how impartial the decision is, note that the court sustained [upheld] every one of the plaintiffs' objections to the evidence offered by Bishop Schofield, while it overruled all twenty-one of Bishop Schofield's objections to the plaintiffs' evidence. It also reversed its tentative ruling made at the hearing to keep out the last-minute declarations filed by Bishops Lamb and Buchanan to cover gaps they had left in their original evidence. It allowed that evidence in, and said it did not need to hear the defendants' evidence, or give them any chance to respond.)

By law, the court was required to render its decision within 90 days of May 5, or by Monday, August 3. (Unlike the case with the State's legislators and their duty to enact a budget by July 1 of each year, if a judge cannot certify that all matters submitted to him within the last 90 days have been decided, he cannot draw his paycheck.) The lengthy period between hearing and final decision appears not to have been used to modify the court's earlier ruling to any great extent. (The ruling does not affect the case against Bishop Schofield's attorneys, who were added as defendants after the plaintiffs filed their motion.)

Surprisingly, the court's decision to grant the motion is no longer the bad piece of news it would have been had it happened on February 25, or shortly thereafter. I write this post immediately after receiving word of the court's ruling, in order to forestall the impact of the trumpet-blaring from Bishop Lamb, his supporters, and the Episcoleft blogworld that will now inevitably follow.

The reason why the ruling is not bad news for the defendants any longer is quite simple: the case itself has moved on. The parties are no longer concerned with the second amended complaint, which was the subject of the court's ruling. The plaintiffs have now filed, and the Schofield defendants have now answered, their fourth amended complaint in this case. That fourth amended complaint contains whole new theories about the alleged collusion between the various defendants (including the Bishop's law firm) to remove property from the Episcopal Church (USA) and its allegedly still-existing diocese. the rest

Italy Passes Resolution Condemning Abortion for Population Control

Elizabeth Lev

ROME -- Italy has long been an acknowledged world leader in fashion and food, but rarely in its tri-millennial history has it stood as a beacon of political acumen. Yet last week, the same soil that gave us Machiavelli seemed to take the lead in showing the world how to seriously commit to reducing abortions.

The Italian parliament, perhaps best known for plunking porn stars side-by-side with Mussolini's granddaughter and brawling like soccer hooligans, for once put differences aside earlier this month, and agreed on a resolution to be presented to the UN Assembly condemning abortion as a means of population control.

It was Rocco Buttiglione, a lifelong friend of the late Pope John Paul II, who presented the motion, which "committed the Government to promote, by seeking the necessary consensus, a United Nations resolution condemning the use of abortion as a means of population control and asserting the right of every woman not to be forced to have abortions, and promoting policies that help to remove the economic causes and social consequences of abortion." the rest

Senate denies Obama health plan by August

President shrugs, says just 'keep working'
By Jennifer Haberkorn
Friday, July 24, 2009

Senate Democrats defied President Obama on Thursday by scuttling plans to vote on health care reform by August, abandoning the president's timeline amid trouble coming to consensus with the White House on how to pay for it.

The inescapable delay was announced as frustrations emerged among Democratic lawmakers left out of ongoing negotiations by a bipartisan group charged with finding ways to pay for the reform bill. the rest

Noonan: Common Sense May Sink ObamaCare

Congressional Committee Accuses ACORN of Massive Fraud, Racketeering

President Obama steps on third rail of race

by Ben Smith and Nia Malika Henderson
July 23, 2009

President Barack Obama has strained through his career in national politics to embrace nuance in all things, and never more than when the subject is race. But an off-the-cuff remark at the end of a news conference designed to further his health care agenda put him at the center of a familiar public melodrama of white cop and black victim in which big-city mayors — never mind presidents — tread with the greatest of caution.

The White House spent Thursday trying to both defend Obama’s words and to soften his position from the night before, when the president departed from his talking points, aides said, to express authentic disgust at the arrest of a black Harvard professor in his own home.

Press secretary Robert Gibbs stood by Obama’s statement that a Cambridge police officer, James Crowley, had acted “stupidly” in arresting Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr. but added some implicit criticism of Gates’s conduct, suggesting “both sides” bear blame for the incident. Obama, who said that he was “surprised by the controversy,” said he wished that “cooler heads” had prevailed and described Crowley as an “outstanding” officer. the rest

Obama remark on Gates’ arrest angers cops

Bill Cosby ’shocked’ at Obama’s statement on Harvard prof’s arrest

The Economist: The Obama cult

Massive N.J. corruption sting targets mayors, legislators, rabbis

by Ted Sherman and Joe Ryan
The Star-Ledger
Friday July 24, 2009

NEWARK -- The bribes went down in diners, living rooms and parking lots. New Jersey Assemblymen took them, mayors took them, and so did dozens of others.

Orthodox rabbis, acting more like crime bosses than religious leaders, laundered millions through synagogues and yeshivas in Deal, one of the state's wealthiest towns. And a Realtor tried to sell an informant a black market kidney for $160,000. the rest

Ruth Gledhill: Don’t give up on the Church!

July 24th, 2009

Just like the Church of my birth, I am inwardly divided. I’ve always believed in the adage, ‘bloom where you are planted’ and that has meant that I’ve resisted the temptation to move away from the Church of England when it has occurred. One of those occasions was many years ago when I was sent to interview a Sea of Faith clergyman who, until his stipend was threatened, didn’t seem to think it mattered that he didn’t believe in God. That sea seems pretty dead now, or at least its not floating any boats on my horizons these days. The diocese in question got rid of him before my own concerns cyrstallised into action, and things moved on. I got an insight back then into how many clerics had beliefs, or lack of beliefs, that even in today’s secularized society would shock.

Many of them have now retired and the Church, and along with it the General Synod, has shifted noticeably to the right. By ‘right’ in this context I mean in a conservative direction, whether to the ‘New Wine” style of evangelicalism of the charismatic movement, or the more hard-line, Calvinist-style approach of Reform.

And although church attendance is not exactly booming, the evangelicals are often not given enough credit for the fact that the decline that has been a feature of the post-war era is definitely showing signs of bottoming out. In some places, such as London, it is in reverse, and London is where many of the most thriving evangelical churches – HTB, St Helen’s – are based. the rest at Anglican Mainstream

Non-Muslims turning to Sharia courts to resolve civil disputes

From The Times
July 21, 2009
Fiona Hamilton, London Correspondent

Increasing numbers of non-Muslims are turning to Sharia courts to resolve commercial disputes and other civil matters, The Times has learnt.

The Muslim Arbitration Tribunal (MAT) said that 5 per cent of its cases involved non-Muslims who were using the courts because they were less cumbersome and more informal than the English legal system.

Freed Chedie, a spokesman for Sheikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siqqiqi, a barrister who set up the tribunal, said: “We put weight on oral agreements, whereas the British courts do not.” the rest

Live mice created from stem cells, and could also work for humans

Scientists have created live mice from stem cells and believe the same could be done for humans.
24 Jul 2009

Chinese researchers used cells, known as induced pluripotent skin cells (iPS), that have been reprogrammed to look and act like embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cells, taken from days-old embryos, have the power to morph into any cell type and, in mice, can be implanted into a mother's womb to create living mouse pups.

Their experiment, published in Nature, means that it is theoretically possible to clone someone using ordinary connective tissue cells found on the person's skin, but the experts were quick to distance themselves from such controversy. the rest

Researchers produce cells they say are identical to embryonic stem cells
Scientists in China use cells from adult mice to breed new mice. The breakthrough results are hailed as an advance toward eliminating the need for fetal stem cells in a variety of applications.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Devotional: Our God may drench us with grief...

How can we have rain without clouds? Our troubles have always brought us blessings, and they always will. They are the dark chariots of bright grace. These clouds will empty themselves before long, and every tender herb will be gladder for the shower. Our God may drench us with grief, but He will refresh us with mercy. Our Lord's love-letters often come to us in black-edged envelopes. His wagons rumble, but they are loaded with benefits. His rod blossoms with sweet flowers and nourishing fruits. Let us not worry about the clouds, but sing because May flowers are brought to us through the April clouds and showers.

O Lord, the clouds are the dust of Thy feet! How near Thou art in the cloudy and dark day! Love beholds Thee, and is glad. Faith sees the clouds emptying themselves and making the little hills rejoice on every side. ...CH Spurgeon

Ban of human-animal hybrids sought

July 23, 2009
by Staff

WASHINGTON (BP)--Sen. Sam Brownback, R.-Kan., has introduced legislation to prohibit the creation of human-animal hybrids.

If enacted, the Human-animal Hybrid Prohibition Act, S. 1435, would bar the creation of beings made from the genetic material of both people and animals. Without a ban, such hybrids could be created for research purposes in laboratories.

A British government agency has approved the creation of hybrids for research in that country.

“This legislation works to ensure that our society recognizes the dignity and sacredness of human life,” Brownback said in a written statement. “Creating human-animal hybrids, which permanently alter the genetic makeup of an organism, will challenge the very definition of what it means to be human and is a violation of human dignity and a grave injustice. the rest

Some See Polyamorous Marriage as the Next Civil Rights Movement

When One Lover Just Doesn't Cut It
July 23, 2009

Terisa Greenan is madly in love with two different men. The catch is, the men don't even mind.
"You get something different from each of them," Greenan said of her partners Scott and Larry, whose last names have not been released, in an interview with ABC News' Seattle affiliate Komo News.

"I do love them, I love them both," she said.

As polyamorists, Greenan, Scott and Larry belong to a small group that believes people have the right to form their own complex relationships with multiple partners. the rest

Christ Church Fallbrook now part of Diocese of Western Anglicans

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

FALLBROOK- Christ Church Fallbrook has announced it will be an affiliate of the newly formed Diocese of Western Anglicans.

This new family of churches on the West Coast comes after several years of affiliation and partnership with the Anglican Church of Uganda while awaiting oversight from a more localized body.

An international gathering of Anglicans was held in Texas on June 22-25 where the Diocese of Western Anglicans was officially announced. Clergy from Christ Church Fallbrook were in attendance as well as many Anglicans from around the globe.

Father Don Kroeger said, “In my 24 years of ordained ministry, I have never attended a church gathering with such unity of purpose and total submission to the Word of God!”

For more information, visit

Episcopal Head Offers Report Amid 'Misinterpreted, Exaggerated' Claims

By Eric Young
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Jul. 23 2009

The presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church wrote a letter to members of the denomination Wednesday to summarize the results of their recently concluded triennial conference and to clarify the details behind two resolutions that have drawn notable, and mostly negative, attention from the media.

After eleven full days of worship, learning, and policy-making, those who gathered in Anaheim, Calif., for the 76th General Convention adopted a budget that will result in the loss of church staff and represents “a significant curtailment of church-wide ministry efforts, in recognition of the economic realities of many dioceses and church endowments,” reported Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Despite the reduced budget, the church body still decided to commit 0.7 percent of its budget to the Millennium Development Goals on top of the 15 percent already committed to international development work.

“As a Church, we have deepened our commitments to mission and ministry with ‘the least of these,’” Jefferts Schori stated, citing from Matthew 25. the rest

Children to be baptised as their parents are married

Church of England unveils a two-in-one wedding and baptism liturgy today as it seeks to make peace with families “living in sin”.
From The Times
July 22, 2009
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

The Church of England unveils a two-in-one wedding and baptism liturgy today as it seeks to make peace with families “living in sin”.

The “hatch-and-match” service allows couples to baptise their children after the wedding ceremony. Parents can even get baptised themselves.

The aim is to encourage cohabiting parents to marry as the Church tries to become more relevant to the way people live their lives, but critics said that it appeared to sanction having children out of wedlock. One bishop described the idea as “nutty”. The liturgy, costing £272, is being sent out to dioceses and parish clergy today.

The move comes after research commissioned by the archbishops of Canterbury and York found that increasing numbers of couples marrying in church already had children. The latest figures on births and marriages show that about 44 per cent of children are born to unmarried women. the rest

The Coming Physician Shortage and Health Care Reform

Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Wesley J. Smith

Penn bioethicist Art Caplan and I have had our differences, although sometimes we agree–as with most organ transplant issues. Today, he has a piece out, what he calls “a reform reality check.” As do most bioethicists, he justifies rationing, and I think it is an inadequate defense. (The problem of uninsured children can be fixed without establishing an invidious program of medical discrimination that pushes certain categories of patients out of the lifeboat.)

But that isn’t why I am writing this post. Caplan addresses a truly alarming issue I have not seen brought up before–a coming acute shortage of physicians. From his column:

Claim: If millions of Americans become newly insured, there won’t be enough doctors and nurses to handle them.

Reality check: This truly is a problem but it’s coming anyway. If current trends continue, the shortage of primary care physicians will reach 40,000 in a little more than 10 years, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Medical schools are only graduating about half the needed number of primary care doctors.
the rest

What Truths We Hold

The president says: “We must find a way to live together.” All the while, the infant in the womb is answering: “But first I have to live.”

Jul 23, 2009
Bernard J. Coughlin

A short time ago, President Barack Obama was invited to address the 2009 graduating class of Notre Dame and to be honored by the university. President Obama is an effective speaker; and his speech at Notre Dame was eloquently delivered.

But Notre Dame is a Catholic University and the Catholic Church and hierarchy, and Catholics in large numbers, believe that abortion is killing an innocent fetus and a seriously sinful violation of the child’s right to life. President Obama, however, believes just as strongly that the mother has the right to kill the child in her womb. Notre Dame alumni accused their Alma Mater of playing politics. There was tension and considerable hostility and anger around the campus that graduation day, and the hostility is still spreading.

Seeking some road to harmony among the hostile parties, President Obama encouraged both sides—proabortion and antiabortion—to seek and find, notwithstanding their opposing views, a “common ground.” This is not the first time that he has made such an appeal. the rest

Orthodox Anglican Leader: Choice is Between Life and Death

By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Wed, Jul. 22 2009

The head of the newly established Anglican Church in North America released an open letter to the entire Anglican Communion, contrasting the recent actions of his orthodox body to that of The Episcopal Church.

In the letter, dated Wednesday, ACNA Archbishop the Most Rev. Robert Duncan compared the two bodies to two cities – one of which is the City of God and the other of which is the City of the World.

"Both cities are in crisis, but one operates from received values and behaviors, while the other attempts to re-make the world to its own revolutionary tastes," he wrote. the rest