Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Regeneration is a birth...

Regeneration is a birth: the centre and root of the personality, the spirit, has been renewed and taken possession of by the Spirit of God. But time is needed for its power from that centre to extend through all the circumference of his being. The kingdom of God is like unto a seed; the life in Christ is a growth, and it would be against the laws of nature and grace alike if we expected from the babe in Christ the strength that can only be found in the young men, or the rich experience of the fathers. ...Andrew Murray image by Daniel Morrison

International Religious Freedom Report for 2011

posted July 31, 20122

Executive Summary

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 18, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

To think, believe, or doubt. To speak or pray; to gather or stand apart. Such are the movements of the mind and heart, infinitives that take us beyond the finite. Freedom of religion, like all freedoms of thought and expression, are inherent. Our beliefs help define who we are and serve as a foundation for what we contribute to our societies. However, as the 2011 International Religious Freedom Report documents, too many people live under governments that abuse or restrict freedom of religion. People awaken, work, suffer, celebrate, raise children, and mourn unable to follow the dictates of their faith or conscience. Yet, under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, governments have committed to respect freedom of religion. As President Barack Obama said, they ought to "bear witness and speak out" when violations of religious freedom occur.

With these reports, we bear witness and speak out. We speak against authoritarian governments that repressed forms of expression, including religious freedom. Governments restricted religious freedom in a variety of ways, including registration laws that favored state-sanctioned groups, blasphemy laws, and treatment of religious groups as security threats. The report focuses special attention on key trends such as the impact of political and demographic transitions on religious minorities, who tended to suffer the most in 2011; the effects of conflict on religious freedom; and the rising tide of anti-Semitism. Impacted groups, to name just a few, included Baha’is and Sufis in Iran; Christians in Egypt; Ahmadis in Indonesia and Pakistan; Muslims in a range of countries, including in Europe; Tibetan Buddhists, Christians, and Uighur Muslims in China; and Jews in many parts of the world.  the rest

Scrolling around...July 31st, 2012

India power cut hits millions, among world's worst outages
Hundreds of millions of people across India were left without power on Tuesday in one of the world's worst blackouts, trapping miners, stranding train travellers and plunging hospitals into darkness when grids collapsed for the second time in two days...

DreamWorks acquires VeggieTales' parent company
The animation studio that created Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon has acquired the parent company of Big Idea and its popular VeggieTales brand.

DreamWorks Animation SKG announced this week that it has entered into an agreement to buy Classic Media for $155 million in cash from Boomerang Media Holdings LLC, a portfolio company of Chicago-based private equity firm GTCR...

A Eugenics Common Sense?
Calling fetuses defective if they are prenatally diagnosed with genetic conditions foreshadows a dangerous path toward eugenics...

Oxford University changes dress code to meet needs of transgender students
Oxford University has rewritten the laws governing its strict academic dress code following concerns that they were unfair towards transgender students...

Six Vatican Ambassadors Start Catholics for Romney Outreach
Six former Vatican ambassadors have banded together to lead a new outreach for Mitt Romney presidential campaign to encourage Catholic voters to support him over pro-abortion President Barack Obama in November. The issue of abortion is one of the reasons for their decision to endorse Romney, as they explain in a new letter announcing the effort...

Denmark forces churches to perform same-sex ‘marriages’
The nation of Denmark has voted to force churches in the established Evangelical Lutheran Church to perform same-sex “marriage” ceremonies inside their sanctuaries, although one-third of all the denomination’s priests say they will not participate in such rituals...

 Black pastor accuses Obama of condoning child rape by supporting gay marriage
The leader of a group of black pastors opposed to gay marriage lashed out at President Barack Obama during a Tuesday appearance at the National Press Club. In his remarks, Rev. William Owens accused Obama of being “unprofessional” for ignoring him and insinuated that Obama had condoned child molestation by endorsing gay marriage...

Rationing Begins: States Limiting Drug Prescriptions for Medicaid Patients
Sixteen states have set a limit on the number of prescription drugs they will cover for Medicaid patients, according to Kaiser Health News...

Defining Religious Liberty Down
THE words “freedom of belief” do not appear in the First Amendment. Nor do the words “freedom of worship.” Instead, the Bill of Rights guarantees Americans something that its authors called “the free exercise” of religion...

A.S. Haley: ECUSA Walks Apart, Where the Faithful Cannot Follow

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

In 2003, the Episcopal Church (USA) said to the majority of the Anglican Communion: "Goodbye -- it's been nice knowing you." The bishop whom ECUSA chose to confirm and consecrate, over the uniform objection of all the Anglican primates at the time, could not be admitted to the 2008 Lambeth Conference, or be licensed to preside at the eucharist in ECUSA's parent church, the Church of England. Likewise, he still cannot be welcomed as a bishop in twenty-two of the thirty-four provinces in the Anglican Communion (not counting the extra-provincial and united churches).

In 2006, the Episcopal Church (USA) said to the rest of the Anglican Communion: "We will urge our bishops and standing committees to 'exercise restraint' in confirming bishops who might upset you, but we cannot do any more than that. Nor can we be sorry if you were offended by our actions -- that is your problem." Some of the dioceses in ECUSA still were very piqued, and announced they would not elect or confirm any more bishops, straight or gay, until the voluntary "moratorium" requested of them by the Lambeth Commission was declared to be at an end. the rest

The Latest from the Diocese of South Carolina

July 30, 2012
By Kevin Kallsen

The following letter from the Rev. Canon Jim Lewis, Canon to the Ordinary, summarizing the July 25 meeting Bishop Lawrence held with the clergy of the Diocese of South Carolina was sent to the active clergy July 30, 2012.

Dear Brother and Sister Clergy,

On Wednesday, July 25th, the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence met with the clergy of the Diocese of South Carolina at St. Paul’s Church, in Summerville, to discuss decisions made at General Convention 2012 and their significance for us as a diocese. In particular, he shared the address he made to the House of Bishops, while in executive session, announcing his decision to depart from Convention with five members of our deputation.

The central purpose of his presentation to the Bishops was to convey his understanding that with the passage of Resolutions D002 and D019 (making all possible variations of “gender identity and gender expression” protected categories in the canons of the church), and the adoption of authorized provisional rites to bless same gender relationships, the doctrine, discipline and worship of this church have been profoundly changed. the rest

All Saints Pawleys Island may go ACNA

Parish vote set for November on rector's proposal to join the ACNA
July 30, 2012
 By George Conger

The flagship parish of the Anglican Mission in America – All Saints Pawleys Island – is set to vote at a special parish meeting this fall on its rector’s proposal the congregation join the Anglican Church in North America.

The Rev. Robert L. Grafe, Jr., rector of the founding parish of the AMiA, told Anglican Ink his congregation was entering a “season of prayer and discernment.”

He noted that a “change in affiliation requires an amendment to our by-laws and a parish vote,” which could take place later this year.

In a 27 July 2012 letter to the congregation, Mr. Grafe wrote that in the wake of the December split within the AMiA “it became clear that there would be other Anglican options for affiliation to consider.”

He noted that the parish leadership believed the best way forward following the news of the break up of the AMiA was to wait and see what options presented themselves. “I encouraged us all to avoid taking sides, refrain from demonizing, and to wait on details to surface regarding the various options. Until we were presented with some details which we could prayerfully consider, we would be content to remain both a part of the Anglican Mission and under the oversight of Archbishop Rwaje.” the rest

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Dancing the Jive (at age 2)

AFGHANISTAN: Anglican Chaplain ministers Christ to soldiers on the front lines

By Chaplain Kelly O'Lear in Afghanistan
Special to Virtueonline
July 27, 2012

This is my third combat tour as a Chaplain. 2003-2004 I was an Infantry Battalion Chaplain in Tal Afar, Iraq. I was part of the 'siege of Tal Afar' in 2004 and saw great heroics by our Soldiers. 2008-2009 I was in Nuristan, Afghanistan with an Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron as the Squadron Chaplain. There I ministered as I walked the very mountains that Rudyard Kipling walked as he penned 'Gunga Din.' I am now completing my tour of Kandahar District of Afghanistan as the Brigade Chaplain of an Airborne Brigade Combat Team. This is where the Taliban started and it is a fiercely contested area with great religious significance to the Taliban. An article is far too small to contain the joys and trials I've experienced during my time as an army chaplain. I will share some of the more memorable moments.

I've had the joy and privilege of being a priest to Troopers in the harshest of conditions. Those relationships have grown and matured over the years. I still hear from many of my former congregants-whether those congregations were in Middle-East mud-huts or Chapels on military posts. Some have left the Army, some continue to serve. Some names I've read as they join the all too long list of the Fallen. I look forward to seeing these Christian Brothers in the resurrection. the rest

Chaplain Kelly O'Lear is an Iowa native and a Brigade Chaplain with 4th Brigade 82nd Airborne Division.He is an Anglican affiliated with CANA/ACNA. Bishop Derek Jones is his Bishop. He is currently deployed to the Zharay District of Afghanistan. He has been an active duty Chaplain for nine years with three deployed to combat. He is with the 82nd Airborne Division FOB Pasab, Afghanistan. He is a graduate of Dubuque Theological Seminary (M. DIV) and Lee University (BA Pastoral Ministry). He is married to Jennifer O'Lear and they have four children. They make their home in Whispering Pines, North Carolina.

Scrolling around...July 28th, 2012

Egypt: Coptic pope’s voters have been chosen
The procedure for the election of the 118th Coptic pope to succeed Shenouda III who died on 17 March this year, was kick started in Egypt with the publication of the list of 2.594 voters in Coptic newspaper al Watan. The Coptic assembly of voters is always a big mix: other than metropolitans, bishops and monks, it includes representatives of lay associations, Coptic State officials, notables and journalists. The real news is that this time, the Coptic diaspora will also play an important role in choosing their pope: approximately a fifth of electors will be members of communities based outside Egypt...

Tony Blair: West is asleep on Islamic extremism
...Radical Muslims seek “supremacy not coexistence’’, Mr Blair said, and he fears that “The West is asleep on this issue’’, even though it is the biggest challenge...

'Bona fide rock star': Archbishop of York's controversial evangelical preacher brother
"Pastor Robert is preaching today," said a woman at the entrance to the 10,500-seat auditorium, where his flock must pass through airport-style security, complete with metal detectors and armed police.
The buzz is for Robert Kayanja, the younger brother of the second most senior figure in the Anglican Church, John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York.
Back in his native Uganda, Mr Kayanja has become one of the richest and most famous evangelical preachers...

Opening Ceremony London 2012: Did director take shot at US on health care?
Of all the things to laud in Britain's long history, the director of the opening ceremonies for the London Olympics chose for his second act ... universal health care...

Swedish high school student fails bio class for saying homosexuality ‘abnormal’
...When the student questioned the grade, the teacher reportedly replied that it was because of the student’s opinions. The goal of the school’s curriculum, the teacher said, was that students show respect for different sexual orientations, and the student’s views did not correspond with that goal....

Court victory against Obama contraceptive mandate
A federal court in Denver has blocked the Health and Human Services mandate for insurance exchanges under Obamacare to provide free sterilization, contraception and morning after pill coverage...

Canon Phil Ashey: A warning to the Church

AAC Weekly Anglican Perspective
July 26, 2012

While noting how The Episcopal Church and others have departed Biblical Christianity, Canon Ashey points to a recent article a recent article by serves as a warning to the Church's faithful.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Anglican Unscripted Episode 46

Jul 27, 2012

This week we talk about Forward and Faith and their resolution to the ACNA College of Bishops. Kevin and George also talk about Metropolitan Jonah and being spat out of the Holy Synod of OCA. The rest of the news includes Nigeria, Aurora, and that thing that happened in Bangkok. Peter Ould talks about guilt by association and Allan Haley lays into the chaos we call TEC.

Anglican Ink: Accusers named in Fort Worth 7 case
The Title IV disciplinary proceedings initiated against the Fort Worth 7 has not been derailed by the intervention of the provisional bishops of Quincy and Fort Worth during the 77th General Convention, the accused have learned.

In an exchange of emails between seven bishops who endorsed an amicus brief in the Diocese of Fort Worth case pending before the Texas Supreme Court and the Rt. Rev. F. Clay Matthews, the Bishop for Pastoral Development in the Office of the Presiding Bishop, Bishop Matthews stated he would be “sending additional information to the Bishops involved after a period of reflection from the conversations at General Convention and some preliminary interviews. When a complaint has been received by the Intake Officer, the Disciplinary Canons are in effect.”...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Scrolling around...July 26th, 2012

Rep. Schakowsky ‘Unaware’ Obamacare Reg Requires Offering Free Sterilizations to Teens
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D.-Ill.) said she was “unaware” that the preventive services regulation that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has issued under the Obamacare law requires health care plans to offer free sterilizations to girls as young as their teens...

Scots Govt ignores public, gives gay marriage go-ahead
...Two thirds of the 80,000 consultation responses were opposed to the move, but the Scottish Government says it will redefine marriage regardless...

Obama’s Sunshine Policy: Transparency for thee, secrecy for me
...In other words, the administration’s message is clear: Private citizens, in order to participate in public debate, must identify themselves to their government.

Now let’s contrast these transparency demands with the administration’s commitment to secrecy...

Gaza Christians fear for future of tiny community
Christians in overwhelmingly Muslim Gaza have long fretted in private about the survival of their tiny community.

But their fears exploded publicly when two members of the flock recently converted to Islam. Christians staged a rare public protest, accusing Muslims of pulling followers from their faith...

Egypt: Fatwa Bans Christian Priests from Public Transportation to Church
Dr. Yassir al-Burhami, a prominent figure in Egypt's Salafi movement and vice president of the Salafi Call—the same sheikh who seeks to punish Muslim apostates, condemns Mother's Day, and advocates deceiving Israel—has just issued a fatwa, published in the "Voice of the Righteous Salaf," forbidding Muslim taxi-drivers and bus-drivers from transporting Coptic Christian priests to their churches, which he depicted as "more forbidden than taking someone to a liquor bar."...

Rising violence against Christian churches in Indonesian province
Christian leaders in Indonesia's Aceh province are expressing grave concern over a wave of violent attacks against churches. The attacks have apparently been carried out by Muslim extremists...

Obama Admin Sends Another $426K to Planned Parenthood
For the third time this month and the fifth time overall, the Obama administration has override the decision of a state to revoke taxpayer funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business...

Illegal Organ Markets in Europe
A recent New York Times article laments the spread of illegal organ markets in Europe, in which mostly poor people try to sell kidneys and other organs to people who need transplants...

248 Human Fetuses Found in Russian Forest
Villagers in Russia’s south Urals have stumbled upon a gruesome discovery — four barrels containing 248 human fetuses left in a forest...

The Economist: Mapping Judaism
JUDAISM is enjoying an unexpected revival, according to a special report to be published in this week’s Economist. The map and chart below show where the biggest Jewish populations live and how this has changed over the past century...

Assam, India: Bodo tribe, Muslim clashes kill at least 35, displace 170,000
Four days of violent clashes between India's native Bodo tribespeople and Muslim immigrants has taken at least 35 lives, officials said today, while another 170,000 are estimated to have fled their homes in the facing of rising violence in India's northwestern Assam region...

San Francisco Public Library Installs Plastic Privacy Screens So Patrons Can Watch Porno…
How progressive...

Poll: Democratic enthusiasm falls sharply
...A Gallup/USA Today poll found that only 39 percent of Democrats now say they are “more enthusiastic than usual” about the 2012 election. That’s down from 68 percent in 2004 and 61 in 2008....

Obama’s Ethics Lesson: Don’t Pay Your College Loan.
...Instead of curbing the artificial demand caused by the government intervention in lending markets, the Obama administration wants to stiff the very lenders that relied on the 1977 law forbidding bankruptcy on student loans as well as the government subsidies that caused them to conduct that high-risk lending in the first place. That could wipe out a large amount of capital on the books at the moment, further destabilizing private lending markets overall and possibly risking bank health in the bargain. Not every one of those borrowers would declare bankruptcy, but the temptation that this regulatory change presents would probably have a significant percentage ready to do so...

Only traditionalist Archbishop of Canterbury can save Anglican church, warn primates

The worldwide Anglican Church risks a permanent split unless someone committed to traditional values is chosen as the new Archbishop of Canterbury, the leaders of 55 million churchgoers have warned.
By John Bingham
26 Jul 2012

In a major intervention in the selection process, an alliance of archbishops and bishops from four continents has written directly to the selection committee urging them to choose someone prepared to halt a drift towards liberal values on issues such as homosexuality.

The next Archbishop must be willing to “uphold the orthodoxy of the Christian faith” in order to secure the “future and unity” of the church “at a foundational level”, they say in a letter seen by The Daily Telegraph.

Only someone with an understanding of the more traditional views of Anglicans in Africa and elsewhere and the ability to gain their “respect” would be acceptable they add. the rest

Cameron scolds Anglicans about their stance on same-sex marriage
According to the British prime minister, the Church of England needs to open its eyes to the current social situation and the rights of individuals...   Transcript of Cameron's speech

Christian groups angry over PM’s gay marriage comments
Christian groups have criticised Prime Minister David Cameron after he suggested the church was “locking out” people who are gay, bisexual or transgender...

Episcopal bishop says yes_and no_to gay blessings
Episcopal Bishop Kee Sloan of Alabama voted in favor of his church’s new ritual for blessing same-sex unions — but he won’t allow priests in his diocese to perform it.

“For the time being, I will not give permission,” Sloan said...

Church of England Targets Israel
Earlier this month the Church of England’s General Synod endorsed the World Council of Churches’ “Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).” Essentially this program enlists anti-Israel church activists from the West to “accompany” Palestinian activists so as to “experience life under occupation.” The church ignored pleas from British Jews, including Britain’s chief rabbi...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

America's liberal Christians might be progressive and inclusive, but they are also dying out

By Tim Stanley
July 24th, 2012

The marketing mantra of liberal Christianity is “change or die.” Here’s the pitch: society has evolved since the 1960s, shedding its old prejudices and misunderstandings and replacing them with a new consensus based on reason and tolerance. Unless the mainstream churches embrace women priests, socialism and gay marriage, they will lose relevance and die out. Conservatives might protest that the beauty of God is rooted not in relevance but timelessness. But, like any other business, Christianity is a numbers game – so making that argument sounds like saying, “Yes the car might be popular, but the horse and cart is a design classic.” Intellectual momentum, liberals insist, is with love and diversity.

Not so, says Ross Douthat in a New York Times article that has caused quite a stir among the liberal faithful. Douthat charts the strange demise of the US Episcopal Church, which he describes as “flexible to the point of indifference on dogma, friendly to sexual liberation in almost every form, willing to blend Christianity with other faiths, and eager to downplay theology entirely in favor of secular political causes.” And yet, against the predictions of liberal theologians, the result has been the evolution from a pseudo-national church to a hippie sect. “Last week, while the church’s House of Bishops was approving a rite to bless same-sex unions, Episcopalian church attendance figures for 2000-10 circulated in the religion blogosphere. They showed something between a decline and a collapse: In the last decade, average Sunday attendance dropped 23 percent, and not a single Episcopal diocese in the country saw churchgoing increase.”  the rest

Scrolling around...July 25th, 2012

..."Our study revealed that the response of healthy skin cells to UV emitted from CFL bulbs is consistent with damage from ultraviolet radiation," said lead researcher Miriam Rafailovich, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Stony Brook University, in New York, in a statement. "Skin cell damage was further enhanced when low dosages of TiO2 nanoparticles were introduced to the skin cells prior to exposure."
According to Rafailovich, with or without TiO2 (a chemical found in sunblock), incandescent bulbs of the same light intensity had zero effects on healthy skin...  image

Albert Mohler: The Dark Night in Denver — Groping for Answers
The news hit the airwaves like a sudden onslaught, and the truth began to sink in. It has happened again. This time, 50 people shot while attending the midnight premier of the last in the Batman sequence, “The Dark Knight Rises.” According to press reports, a 24-year-old man burst into the crowded theater, wearing a gas mask and carrying an arsenal. After deploying what is believed to be tear gas, he opened fire with a shotgun, a rifle, and two handguns. At least 12 people are dead, and dozens are injured, many critically.
Over 100 police officers responded to the scene in Aurora, just a few miles from Columbine High School, where in 1999 two high school students killed 12 fellow students and one teacher in a rampage that also injured 21 other students. That school massacre became a milestone in the nation’s legacy of violence. Now, yet another Denver suburb joins that tragic list.
The inevitable media swarm focuses on the data first — the who, what, when, and where questions. Then they, along with the public at large, begin to ask the why question. That is always the hard one...

Nat Hentoff: What Still Shocks Me About ObamaCare
Amid the huge response — both triumphant and agonized — to the Supreme Court’s preservation of Obamacare, I was surprised at how little attention was being paid to that law’s core purpose: to strongly control health care costs where government funding is involved, as it increasingly will be.
What still shocks me about this law is the government’s interference with the doctor-patient relationship. Many government bureaucracies will not pay for doctor-prescribed treatments costing more than a predetermined figure. And none of these bureaucracies’ members will have actually seen the individual patient...

Hey, Boston: Leave Chick-fil-A Alone
It's one thing for Hollywood moppets and television Muppets to protest Chick-fil-A over the fast-food chain president's support for traditional marriage. They're private citizens and entities. But when an elected public official wields the club of government against a Christian business in the name of "tolerance," it's not harmless kid stuff. It's chilling...

Seventh Circuit: Holding a High School Graduation in a (Richly Iconographically Religious) Church Violates the Establishment Clause
The Seventh Circuit has come down with a ruling that holding a public school graduation in a church violates the Establishment Clause when the church has an indeterminate number of religious icons and other material which run afoul of the standards that the Supreme Court has encrusted on the Establishment Clause. It was undisputed that the choice to hold the graduation in the church was made for the sake of convenience, price, and accommodation of the large number of students, and not for any religious reason. It was also undisputed that no reference was made to religion during the graduation ceremony...

Obama Thanks Gay Porn King for Organizing Fundraiser
...“I want to thank someone who put so much work into this event, Terry Bean,” President Obama said as the crowd began to cheer. “Give Terry a big round of applause.”
Terry Bean is, according to the New York Post, a “gay-porn kingpin.”

The Outrageous Farm Bill That’s Packed with Pork
...What’s hidden in this mess? How about money for windmills, for 15 different duplicative food programs, cash – lots of it – to make sure country folk get great Internet service, a grant to study moth pheromones, funding to help ethanol producers (thought we’d gotten rid of that, didn’t you?), protection of our wealthy sugar producers, $25 million to study the health benefits of peas and lentils, an amendment that could allow Californians to continue enjoying foie gras, insurance against lower milk prices for dairy farmers, grants for the locavore movement (consult your dictionary), help for popcorn growers, grants to study how to make cut flowers last longer in a vase, a boost to organic growers (as though their price premiums aren’t sufficient compensation), a boost for maple syrup makers, lofty cotton supports and money to underwrite wine tastings overseas.
Leaving off the food stamps portion of the bill, taxpayers are essentially underwriting one of our richest industries. Farmers enjoyed record income last year and saw their land values hit all-time highs, while the rest of the country struggled.

UK gov’t official calls for sanctions against large families
...Louise Casey, head of a government agency set up to deal with troubled families following last summer’s riots, said the state should “interfere” and tell women they are irresponsible and should be “ashamed” of how they are damaging society if they have “too many children,” according to a report in the Telegraph.

Court Orders Planned Parenthood: Inform Women of Abortion-Suicide Link
A federal appeals court has upheld a provision of a South Dakota law requiring the states lone abortion business, operated by Planned Parenthood, that it has to inform women of the validity of the link between abortion and suicide. With women facing a host of mental health issues following an abortion, Planned Parenthood can no longer keep women in the dark about them...

A Mainline Collapse: The Twilight of Liberal Christianity?

By Eric Metaxas
July 23, 2012

In 2006, the Episcopal Church's presiding bishop, Katherine Jefferts Schori, told the New York Times that Episcopalians were not interested in "replenishing their ranks by having children." Instead, the church "[encouraged] people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion."

"Stewardship of the earth" and having children are not incompatible, but if Schori's goal was a principled extinction, she's about to succeed. The Episcopal Church, you see, is in a statistical free-fall.

Since 2000, the Episcopal Church has lost 23 percent of its members. At this rate, there will be no Episcopalians in 26 years.

My friend and New York Times columnist Ross Douthat noted that the collapse occurred at the same time that the church was transforming itself "into one of the most self-consciously progressive Christian bodies in the United States." the rest
What's true of the Episcopal Church is also true, to a large extent, of much of the Protestant mainline. As these churches have lurched leftward in the name of "relevance" and "vitality," their numbers have plummeted.

Mark Tooley: When to Leave Your Church?

July 22, 2012

Saturday morning I was interviewed by Chicago-based Moody Radio on “Should you leave your church if it’s forsaking biblical orthodoxy?” The other guest was my friend, the always impressive Cherie Harder, who heads the Washington-based Trinity Forum, a thinktank that examines faith and culture.

Cherie talked about her own formerly Episcopal, now Anglican congregation, the historic Falls Church in Virginia, which recently lost its property after years of litigation with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. The over 4000 member church, which is mega sized by Episcopal/Anglican standards, quit the Episcopal Church in 2006 after the 2003 election of that denomination’s first openly homosexual bishop. Becoming part of the new Anglican Church of North America, the Falls Church continued to grow, even founding several thriving new congregations.

Meanwhile a shell congregation of the Falls Church that disagreed with the over 90 percent vote to leave the Episcopal Church has continued to meet and now possesses the large property. Reportedly fewer than 100 attend its services in a facility that once accommodated thousands. One of its recent preachers was a radical former missionary forced to leave Sudan because of her LGBT advocacy. So the shell congregation is marching in sync with the Episcopal Church’s national leftward, spiral. I predict that maintenance costs eventually will compel the small congregation to rent most of its large campus to another, much bigger church, likely evangelical. the rest image

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Our culture of death and the Batman shooting

Matt Barber
posted July 21, 2012

Like most decent Americans, I am sickened today – mournful in a way words cannot describe. Please join me in the coming hours, days and weeks in, yes, praying for the victims, their families and the state of our lost union.

It’s times like this when we’re reminded that, when the smoke clears, we’re left with our relationships alone: family, friends, prayer and, most importantly, a deep, childlike need for God’s love, mercy and comfort.

Still, we shouldn’t be surprised by this mass murder. In fact, if we’re honest, we’re not surprised. We’ve become almost numb to such reports – desensitized to what only a few short decades ago would have been unimaginable. Although no one is to blame for this man’s objectively evil actions but he alone, those actions are, sadly, a dreadful sign of our desperate times. the rest
Let me be clear: Am I comparing this incredibly wicked, illegal mass murder at Aurora’s Century Theatre to the incredibly wicked, legal mass murder committed at Planned Parenthoods across the country each day? Absolutely-and you can quote me on it.

Washington woman marries corporation

by Stephen Kokx
posted July 21, 2012

Only in a world where marriage is understood as a legal construct, divorced from its procreative orientation, would a person attempt to marry a corporation.

But that’s exactly what happened in the state of Washington the other day.

Angela Vogel, a Seattle resident, decided to wed “Corporate Person” in a ceremony presided over by United Methodist Pastor Rich Lang.

The event was reportedly a protest over the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. the rest video

Blithe Christianity and the Last Free Election

July 18, 2012
James V. Schall, S.J.

Bruce Fingerhut in South Bend called my attention to Father George Rutler’s essay in crisismagazine.com (July 13), entitled “Post-Comfortable Christianity.”   Father Rutler is the well-known pastor of the Church of Our Savior in New York City. He is a man of many, many talents, a witty and insightful lecturer, often on EWTN. With his Scot origin, he has been known to appear in the kilt version of the Roman Collar at the Highland Games. Rutler is a convert Episcopal priest who speaks the King’s English, speaks it well and clearly.

The title, “Post-Comfortable Christianity,” Rutler explains, is not used in place of “Post-Christian,” since “nothing can come after Christ,” a profound theological observation in itself. We have lived as Catholics in relative peace in recent times. We think we belong and are accepted by this culture. Indeed, we have sometimes bought an easy version of our faith that requires little sacrifice and no Cross.

We have not had to worry, or so we thought, about ourselves being discriminated against or persecuted. Such despicable activities were, we thought, against the law. They were events that happened “elsewhere.” We never thought that our law could itself be “against the law.” The Third Millennium began with fireworks and Ferris wheels, Rutler commented, but is now “entering a sinister stage.” We have not anticipated that so many Catholics, often public leaders, when it came to a choice between God and Caesar, would opt for Caesar in his worst form. the rest

Communiqué of the Global South Primates Bangkok, Thailand, 20 July 2012

July 21, 2012
By Kevin Kallsen

6. We note with great sadness the passing of Resolution A049 at the 77th General Convention of The Episcopal Church which authorized a liturgy for blessing same-sex unions. This action confirms our disappointment that The Episcopal Church has no regard for the concerns and convictions of the vast majority of Anglicans worldwide.

7. We stand in solidarity with our brethren in the Communion Partners who have dissented from this action. We uphold them in prayer and support them in fellowship as they continue in their commitment to the evangelical faith and catholic order of the Church, as expressed in their Minority Report known as The Indianapolis Statement.

8. We also appreciate and support all the faithful in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) as well as those in the Anglican Church in Canada who remain true to our biblical and historic faith.

9. We deeply respect and appreciate our historical and spiritual relationship with the See of Canterbury. We have written to the Crown Nominations Commission with concerns from the Global South and important principles for consideration as it nominates candidates for the appointment of a new Archbishop of Canterbury.

 Full statement

Friday, July 20, 2012

When your burden becomes too heavy...

When your burden becomes too heavy, when life's ways become too dark, when the heart is too sore, when you are ready to perish, it is not amiss to pray to God to open the heavens, and through a rift in the sky to shine down into your heart some of the light of the Glory World. ...B.H. Carroll image by Karen Roe

Scrolling around...July 20th, 2012

Canadian B and B Owners Who Refused Room To Gay Couple Fined $4,500
The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal has fined the owners of a now-closed bed and breakfast $4,500 for refusing to grant a gay couple a reservation in 2009 after learning of their sexual orientation, the Vancouver Sun reports...

First Military Base Same-Sex Wedding Held
Two men became the first same-sex couple to marry on a military base when they held their wedding ceremony last month at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey...

Teenagers 'can be corrupted' by Hollywood sex scenes
Watching sex scenes in Hollywood films can make children more promiscuous and sexually active from a younger age, a new study has suggested...

Wheaton College Joins Lawsuits Fighting the Contraception Mandate
Wheaton College will follow other religious institutions by filing a lawsuit against the Obama administration's contraception mandate, president Philip Ryken will announce Wednesday morning. The college's suit in the D.C. District Court will be one of the more high-profile actions by an evangelical institution...

Union Bosses Okay Digging Up–Then Filling Back In–Ditches on Taxpayers' Dime
James O’Keefe’s new Project Veritas video (see below) is a stunning exposé of union corruption surrounding so-called “shovel ready” jobs. In typically irreverent Project Veritas style, O’Keefe introduces a new company: Earth Supply and Renewal. What do they do?...(video below)

Union leaders force cancellation of major blood drive
...“We are astounded that union leaders forced the cancellation of this nationally acclaimed, lifesaving effort just to further their own agenda,” said Sharon Jaksa, Region CEO. “Over the past decade, this special event has helped save thousands of lives as our loyal blood donors honored the victims and survivors of the 2001 terrorist attacks. But since union leadership will not agree to support the drive with the dignity it deserves, we cannot hold our sponsor and donors hostage with the uncertainty of union actions. Our donors mean far more to us than that.” ...

Whooping cough could reach highest levels since 1959
Public health officials are concerned the uptick might be due in part to a switch from one vaccine type to another 15 years ago. The change was based in part on now-discredited concerns about the dangers of the older vaccine...

Anglican Perspective: Fr. Phil Ashey

Jul 17, 2012

This week, the Rev. Winnie Varghese, an Episcopal priest, wrote about the "generous orthodoxy" of the Episcopal Church. In today's Anglican PerspectiveCanon Ashey crituques Rev. Varghese's article and specifically takes issue with the author's source of "revelation."

Stand Firm: The Bishop of Central Florida Writes His Diocese

Dallas: Bishop Stanton Writes His Diocese about General Convention

ACI: Same Sex Blessings: What Did General Convention Do?

New York bishops authorize clergy to perform gay weddings

A.S. Haley: Bishop Sauls and the Ones Society Marginalizes -- What about the Tax Collectors?
...The lesson from the Gospels is clear: Jesus did not associate with sinners to celebrate their sinful orientations; he called on them to repent of their ways and stop sinning. Still less did Jesus make Matthew one of his disciples and allow him to continue sinning as a tax collector: he required him to give up his profession altogether in order to become His disciple...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Anglican Unscripted Episode 45: July 17, 2012

Post General Convention 77 commentary floods the frames of this episode. Kevin and George discuss TEC's "provisional" local rites for the blessing of same-sex unions, Humankind's desire to identified by Acronyms, Bishop Lawrences actions, and Jesus' discussion with Peter about the Rock. Alan Haley discusses the blood stains GC77 brought by charging nine Bishops for doing their duty. And finally, this week Peter Ould is giddy about Sports and humble about Women Bishops.

Happy 30th Anniversary to my Hubby! July 17, 1982-2012

Photo by Raymond Dague

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:12-17 (one of our wedding readings)

A long time ago!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

GenCon 2012 Aftermath: Bishop Lawrence Addresses Diocese Following 77th General Convention

The following letter written by the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, was provided to clergy throughout the Diocese to be read aloud in parishes on Sunday, July 15, 2012. Clergy were asked to provide printed copies of it as well. An abbreviated version was also made available.

July 15, 2012, 7th Sunday After Pentecost

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Some of you have actively followed the decisions of the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church. Others have been blissfully unaware that our denomination even had a General Convention. We have. And the actions taken mark a significant and distressing departure from the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this Church has received them.

In conversations with clergy, and from the emails I have received, I know there is much uneasiness about the future. Some of us are experiencing the well-known stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, and depression. And, of course, I must acknowledge there are those for whom the recent decisions are a cause for celebration. For me there are certainly things about which I was thankful at the convention in Indianapolis. I might even have taken encouragement from the resolutions that were passed regarding needed structural reform, and for the intentional work in the House of Bishops on matters of collegiality and honesty. Unfortunately, these strike me now as akin to a long overdue rearranging of the furniture when the house is on fire. Why do I say this?

There are four resolutions which were adopted that bring distressing changes to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church that every ordained person in this church has vowed “to engage to conform,” and which stand in direct conflict with the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this church has received them.

First, let me mention resolution C029. While this was amended during the debates in a more temperate direction, it still moves the Church further down the road toward encouraging the communion of the unbaptized which departs from two thousand years of Christian practice. It also puts the undiscerning person in spiritual jeopardy. (I Corinthians 11:27--32) the rest

Comments at Titusonenine

Comments at Stand Firm

Russ Douthat: Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved?
...Today, by contrast, the leaders of the Episcopal Church and similar bodies often don’t seem to be offering anything you can’t already get from a purely secular liberalism. Which suggests that per haps they should pause, amid their frantic renovations, and consider not just what they would change about historic Christianity, but what they would defend and offer uncompromisingly to the world.

Absent such a reconsideration, their fate is nearly certain: they will change, and change, and die.

A.S. Haley: Bishop Lawrence Addresses His Diocese Following General Convention
...The letter has already generated publicity in the Sunday edition of the newspaper having the greatest circulation in South Carolina; more may be expected in the coming days and weeks, and also in the national press.

Where things will go from here is as much up to the leadership of ECUSA as it is to the Diocese of South Carolina. Resolution A049 enacted by General Convention on proposing a rite for individual bishops to use in their own diocese to bless same-sex civil unions contains the following paragraph (my bold emphasis):
Resolved, That this convention honor the theological diversity of this church in regard to matters of human sexuality, and that no bishop, priest, deacon or lay person should be coerced or penalized in any manner, nor suffer any canonical disabilities, as a result of his or her conscientious objection to or support for the 77th General Convention’s action with regard to the Blessing of Same-Sex Relationships;
Bishop Lawrence has made known to the House of Bishops, and is making known today in writing to his entire Diocese, his conscientious objection to the action of GC77 "with regard to the Blessing of Same-Sex Relationships." If the powers that be at 815 Second Avenue honor the language just quoted above, there should not be any attempts to discipline or sanction Bishop Lawrence for that objection...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

GenCon 2012: Episcopal Church agnostic on the resurrection of animals

Bishops adopt prayers for animals
July 12, 2012
By George Conger

The doctrine that all dogs go to heaven has been placed in limbo by the 77th General Convention. On 11 July 2012 the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church adopted a revised version of Resolution A054 “Authorize Rites and Prayers for the Care of Beloved Animals.”

The question of prayers for the souls of animals was brought to the convention by the Standing Committee on Liturgy and Church Music which submitted the text, “Various Rites and Prayers for Animals” for approval. However, the Convention’s Committee on Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music rejected “Various Rites” as a whole, and offered selected prayers for approval by the church.

The Bishop of Missouri, the Rt. Rev. George Wayne Smith said the prayers provided by the Prayer Book committee “no longer express the desire for our animals to be part of the resurrection.”

The committee removed language from the proposed “Burial Office for a Beloved Animal”, that has the officiant say: “Give us faith to commit this beloved creature to your care, and hear our hope that we all may one day be reunited with our animals in the heavenly places, where you live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.”

The new language for the office states: “Give us faith to commit this beloved creature of your own making to your care, for you live and reign for ever and ever. Amen”

After Bishop Smith presented the resolution for debate, the retired Bishop of Alabama, Henry Parsley stated “I welcome the liturgy, but I have a question: Where do they go?”

“To heaven, where else,” the Presiding Bishop said.
 the rest-this is a hoot!

Albany Deputation Statement on the 77th General Convention

GetReligion: Rum, sodomy and the cash: The Episcopal Church
The Wall Street Journal’s “Houses of Worship” column has printed a spirited review of the recent General Convention of the Episcopal Church held 5-12 July 2012 in Indianapolis. The reporter’s style in “What Ails the Episcopalians”  is engaging as is the ebullient energy found in his report on the church’s follies.

Yet, there is a problem — the author’s insights are largely superficial and the reader cannot rely on him as a guide to the deeper meaning of the things he describes. Silly things take place at Episcopal Church General Conventions — I have covered the last six — yet, the Episcopal Church and its presiding bishop are not guilty of the crimes leveled against them in this article...

Transgender Pastors Coming to a Church Near You
To exhibit "inclusion and growth in understanding and appreciation of the diversity of God's beloved human family," the Episcopal Church just voted to allow transgender ministers to occupy their pulpits, shattering all sacred traditions while trading the Silver Chalice for a pink one.

The Episcopal Church, replacing God's way with the politically correct way, also began working on creating a liturgy for same-sex 'weddings'.

The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church, at their week-long General Convention in Indianapolis, approved a proposal that would amend two canons to "prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or expression in the lay and ordained ministry discernment process and in the overall life, worship and governance of the church."

Let's get this straight: One should never be discriminated against because they do not have the qualifications for a specific position? This means that if you want to wear that glamorous flight uniform and fly that 747 you should not face discrimination simply because you cannot fly that airplane. Nope, you should be put right into that pilot's seat in the cockpit without delay. Passengers, please board...

The Episcopal Church Resolutions You DIDN’T Hear About
Sure, all the attention went to making Canon law say that you WILL hire a person of unspecified gender and sexual history for your church nursery. That, and giving your bishop a handy dandy little ritual to hand to your priest when the folks who detest marriage as a primitive livestock and rape exchange come demanding to be married. You might be yelling at said priest and bishop about that stuff, but they’re reassuring you, “Hey, it will be only one part of our local missional contextualization. Besides, did’ja hear about all the really great mission and ministry work that General Convention did for us? The stuff those hateful fundy bloggers ignored?”...

A Statement from the Deputation of the Diocese of Central Florida

Episcopalians Call for Repeal of DOMA; Approve Rites for Pet Funerals
Other resolutions passed during the convention include:

• A call to halt the use of racial profiling and the practice of detaining people suspected of being in the country illegally
• A call to Congress to repeal federal laws (including DOMA) that have a discriminatory effect on same-gender civilly married couples
• Creating a task force to "re-imagine" its structures, governance and administration
• A reaffirmation of baptism as the normative entry point to receiving Holy Communion
• Making available liturgical materials to provide pastoral responses to people with animals, including at the time of their death
• Challenging every congregation to use social media...

The Anglican Future: After the Storm
We are in a strange place. After nearly a decade of crisis, the much predicted Anglican schism has failed to materialise, at least in any clear cut way. Significant new structures have been birthed, notably the Anglican Church of North America, but on the whole the drama has subsided.

The Communion lies becalmed and rudderless like a ship after a storm. The Archbishop of Canterbury can no longer gather the Communion and the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council has announced that it has no set time frame for the adoption of the Covenant. What was once held to be 'the only show in town' is dead even though it officially lives.

How does the GAFCON movement respond now? During the storm it provided a lifeboat for those orthodox Anglicans who were tossed over the side, but now there is an opportunity to get the ship under way again by being a catalyst for the renewal and godly unity of the whole Communion. The preparatory documents for the 2008 GAFCON Conference referred to a fork in the road, but how do we understand that road? We can begin to answer this question by taking a hint from the fact that the GAFCON movement was quite deliberately birthed in Jerusalem and its identity is framed by the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bishops close "Open Table"

Send Baptism before Eucharist resolution back to Deputies with amendments
July 12, 2012
By George Conger

The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church has returned Resolution C029 “Access to Holy Baptism and Holy Communion” to the House of Deputies, removing language from the resolution that would permit clergy to omit out of pastoral considerations the requirement that those who partake of the Body and Blood of Christ at the Eucharist be baptized.

Two resolutions seeking to remove the canonical requirement of baptism being a precondition for receiving Holy Communion and a call to study the question of Baptism and Eucharistic hospitality were presented to the 77th General Convention meeting in Indianapolis from 5-12 July 2012. the rest
The Rev. Susan Buchanan of New Hampshire spoke in favor of the original resolution stating she endorsed it because if offered a “both/and” response to the concerns of the church. She stated the committee had “worked hard” to find an acceptable compromise and added that she held an open table at her church.

"We are crazy Christians." she said and "because we have a crazy God. Many of us do offer open table."

Scrolling around...July 12th, 2012

Planned Parenthood Collected $28M in Medicaid Fraud, Says Former Iowa Director
...Planned Parenthood submitted "repeated false, fraudulent, and/or ineligible claims for reimbursements" to Medicaid and failed to meet acceptable standards of medical practice, according to a lawsuit made public Monday...

Muslims the fastest growing religious group in San Diego
A new census has found that Islam is the fastest growing in the second-most-populous county in California, an increase that has brought new challenges to the Muslim minority in the United States...

U.S. Again Protests Iran's Imprisonment of Christian Pastor
On Monday, the U.S. State Department again issued a statement protesting Iran's continued imprisonment of Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani who, it says, still faces the threat of execution for simply following his faith. Monday marked the 1000th day of Nardkhani's imprisonment...

 Hidden Tax Advantages for Same-Sex Couples
But certain provisions in the tax code actually put same-sex couples at an advantage, because the individuals in these relationships can benefit from one another in ways that heterosexual couples are legally forbidden...

Why Is Obama Offering All Women Free Sterilization?
No previous president ever promoted a giveaway more peculiar than Barack Obama's mandate that all health care plans must offer free sterilizations to all women -- but not all men -- capable of breeding.
This mandate is Obama's defining act as president -- just as his adamant opposition to a bill that would have defined a born baby as a "person" was his defining act as an Illinois state senator.
Obama's Department of Health and Human Services proposed the mandate last August and finalized it in January. It takes effect Aug. 1...

Clinton-era Environmental Rules Increased Wildfire Risks in Colorado
Environmental regulations restricting the construction of forest access roads have limited the ability of the Forest Service to clear combustible brush and trees, adding dangerous fuel to the wildfires that have ravaged Colorado this summer. The so-called “roadless rule,” which was first implemented in 2001 by President Clinton shortly before he left office, restricts and in many cases prohibits local and federal officials from building and maintaining roads that allow firefighters to clear out growth that could instantly become tinder for a new fire...

In Obama's Chicago, A Trayvon Martin Every Day
...People are dying fast and furiously in Chicago, so much so that it caught the CBS eye and prompted "Evening News" anchor Scott Pelley to sit down Monday night with Rahm Emanuel, President Obama's former chief of staff and mayor of this monument to progressive decay, and ask a very pertinent question.

"I got a letter from a viewer the other day who asked us why we were spending so much time at 'The Evening News' covering Afghanistan when more people were dying in Chicago," Pelley said. "Why is the murder rate up 30%?"...

Google pushes porn with TV partnership
Days after Google announced a plan to promote the homosexualist agenda worldwide, a spokesman for the leading U.S. organization opposing obscenity and indecency has drawn attention to the fact that the tech giant is promoting sexual immorality in other ways as well.
Patrick Trueman of Morality in Media pointed to Google TV’s recent partnership with Vivid Video, “the top commercial pornographer in the country.”...

Nigerian Christian Leaders Rip Obama For Deciding Not To Label Islamist Group Boko Haram A Terrorist Organization…
...Testifying on Capitol Hill this week, the State Department’s top official for Africa defended the decision not to designate Boko Haram as a “foreign terrorist organization” (FTO) — but then used the term “terrorist organization” in reference to the Nigerian Islamist group...

Hidden Government Scanners Will Instantly Know Everything About You From 164 Feet Away
From traces of drugs or gun powder on your clothes to what you had for breakfast to the adrenaline level in your body—agents will be able to get any information they want without even touching you...And without you knowing it...

Why is the Episcopal Church near collapse?

by Rob Kerby, Senior Editor
posted July 12, 2012

The headlines coming out of the Episcopal Church’s annual U.S. convention are stunning — endorsement of cross-dressing clergy, blessing same-sex marriage, the sale of their headquarters since they can’t afford to maintain it.

The American branch of the Church of England, founded when the Vatican balked at permitting King Henry VIII to continue executing any wife who failed to bear him sons, is in trouble.

Somehow slipping out of the headlines is a harsh reality that the denomination has been deserted in droves by an angry or ambivalent membership. Six prominent bishops are ready to take their large dioceses out of the American church and align with conservative Anglican groups in Africa and South America. the rest
Likewise, Bishop Edward Little of Northern Indiana stood against the resolution.

“The Christian world is going to understand us as having changed the nature of the sacrament of holy matrimony,” Bishop Little said. “The Christian world will look at that liturgy world and see vows, and exchange of rings, a pronouncement and a blessing and they will understand that to mean the Episcopal Church has endorsed same-sex marriage and changed a basic Christian doctrine. I do not believe that we are free to do that.”

But few observers were surprised by the transgender and same-sex resolutions.

A few years ago, the annual national Episcopal convention overwhelmingly refused even to consider a resolution affirming that Jesus Christ is Lord.

The Episcopal Church is in the news again for the usual reasons.
First, a few days ago it was reported that the Episcopal Church suffered a 23 percent decline in attendance from 2000 to 2010. Second, on Tuesday the Episcopal Church approved rites for blessing same-sex unions. Many commentators made what seems to be an obvious connection supposedly supported by sociology: liberalism in religion leads to the decline and death of denominations. “Conservative churches are growing,” we heard yet again...

Same-Sex Marriage and the Revolt Against Metropolitan Jonah
Fr. Johannes Jacobse, American Orthodox Institute

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

GenCon 2012: South Carolina Deputation Walks Out of General Convention

The deputation of South Carolina have released a statement this afternoon
July11, 2012

Due to the actions of General Convention, the South Carolina Deputation has concluded that we cannot continue with business as usual. We all agree that we cannot and will not remain on the floor of the House and act as if all is normal. John Burwell and Lonnie Hamilton have agreed to remain at Convention to monitor further developments and by their presence demonstrate that our action is not to be construed as a departure from the Episcopal Church. Please pray for those of us who will be traveling early and for those who remain.  Here

Communion Partners Bishops Issue Minority Statement

MCJ: Death Spiral

A.S. Haley: Diocese of south Carolina Fed up with General Convention
News flash: the bulk of the deputation to the House of Deputies from the Diocese of South Carolina has left General Convention one day early, following the actions of the Convention thus far to (a) add transsexual persons to the list of people who cannot be denied work at any level in the Episcopal Church (USA); (b) adopt a rite for the blessing of same-sex unions, in violation of both the Book of Common Prayer and the ECUSA Constitution; and (c) refuse to act at this time on the proposed Anglican Covenant. The deputation issued the following statement:
Due to the actions of General Convention, the South Carolina Deputation has concluded that we cannot continue with business as usual. We all agree that we cannot and will not remain on the floor of the House and act as if all is normal. John Burwell and Lonnie Hamilton have agreed to remain at Convention to monitor further developments and by their presence demonstrate that our action is not to be construed as a departure from the Episcopal Church. Please pray for those of us who will be traveling early and for those who remain.
Bishop Mark Lawrence left the House of Bishops meeting to return home last night. Other bishops report that their attempts to change his mind failed...

George Conger: South Carolina not seceding from the Episcopal Church
The Bishop of South Carolina is not leaving the Episcopal Church, but has withdrawn from the 77th General Convention meeting in Indianapolis out of pastoral concern and respect for the members of his diocesan deputation and over his personal disquiet over the church’s authorization of gay blessings.

On 11 July 2012 the Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence said, “I am not leaving the Episcopal Church, but need to differentiate myself” from the actions taken this week by the General Convention, he told Anglican Ink.

At the start of the afternoon private session of the House of Bishops, the South Carolina church leader said he “spoke at some length” to his colleagues about “why his deputation left the floor” of General Convention.

On 11 July 2012, the South Carolina’s four clergy and four lay deputies released a statement saying that “due to the actions of General Convention” the deputation had concluded “that we cannot and will not remain on the floor of the House and act as if all is normal.”...

Reaction mixed to Episcopal Church's approval of same-sex rites

Episcopal approval of same-sex blessings: Will it hurt church's global ties?
The Episcopal Church on Tuesday became the largest US church to authorize blessings for same-sex couples. The historic step marks a victory for activists, observers say, but stands to hamper the church’s already-strained international relationships...

New challenge to CofE as US Anglicans approve gay 'marriage' service
The Church of England’s opposition to same-sex marriage is facing a major challenge from within after Anglicans in the US approved same-sex blessings in churches...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

GenCon 2012: A.S. Haley-House of Bishops Votes for Liturgical Anarchy

July 10, 2012

The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church (USA) is a ship without a rudder. It is adrift on the sea of spiritual platitudes, and at the mercy of the winds of popular culture. Its leaders on the bridge have no idea where it is headed, because they have lost their compass, too. And as for the crew—well, they just keep on doing what they have always been doing, which is to keep their heads down, work at their daily tasks, and hope that they eventually will find a safe harbor, despite having no idea how to get there.

They listen to daily prayers which have no root in the liturgy, but which “sound” quasi-spiritual. “May God be with you,” intoned their chaplain just before they voted to “approve”, 111-41, some kind of liturgy for some kind of mumbo-jumbo to be pronounced over some kind of persons who see themselves in some kind of relationship.

How is the Church to “bless” something which its Book of Common Prayer cannot even define?

The Bishops do not tell us; they just say: “Do whatever your own Bishop may choose to approve in his or her own Diocese. It can be this liturgy, for example; or it can be something someone else has written for this liturgically undefinable occasion, as long as the Bishop says, ‘That’s fine.’ Or it can be no such rites or liturgies whatsoever, if the Bishop says that. Whatever—just go with it, pewsters.”

This is a recipe for liturgical anarchy in the Church, and is symbolic of the systematic damage the Bishops have allowed to eat away at ECUSA’s foundations over the years. The pastors have ignored their real flocks while chasing after particular kinds of sheep (who actually are very few in number). In the process, the fences have all fallen down, and now the pastors can scarcely tell who is in their flock, and who isn’t, while there are no longer any protections against beasts of prey. the rest

HuffPo: Episcopal Church Approves Transgender People Ordination

Monday, July 09, 2012

Scrolling around...July 9th, 2012

The Terrible Management Technique That Cost Microsoft Its Creativity
Vanity Fair has an article in its August issue that tells the story of how Microsoft “since 2000 . . . has fallen flat in every area it entered: e-books, music, search, social networking, etc., etc.”...

Ernest Borgnine dies at 95; won Oscar for 'Marty,' showed comic side in sitcom
The stocky, gap-toothed Connecticut native won an Academy Award for his portrayal of a lonely Bronx butcher looking for love in the 1955 drama 'Marty.' He also starred in the popular TV show 'McHale's Navy.'

Last week, I joined Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, one of our nation’s most brilliant public intellectuals and a leading scholar and teacher of the Islamic tradition, in a letter to the chief executive officers of America’s largest hotel chains asking them to stop offering pornography in their hotel rooms. We wrote as a Muslim and a Christian, but we appealed to the executives “not on the basis of truths revealed in our scriptures but on the basis of a commitment that should be shared by all people of reason and goodwill: a commitment to human dignity and the common good.” We noted that “as teachers and as parents, we seek a society in which young people are encouraged to respect others and themselves—treating no one as an impersonal object or thing.”...

Feds: Airlines Must Let Passengers Fly With Pigs for 'Emotional Support'
Pot-bellied pigs must be granted passage on airplanes if they are used for “emotional support” by their owners, states the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) draft manual on equity for the disabled in air travel...

Pastor Faces Suit for Calling a Man 'Gay' and his Marriage a 'Sham'
A state appeals court is allowing the suit to go forward, the Courthouse News Service reported...

Before Air-Conditioning
...Given the heat, people smelled, of course, but some smelled a lot worse than others. One cutter in my father’s shop was a horse in this respect, and my father, who normally had no sense of smell—no one understood why—claimed that he could smell this man and would address him only from a distance...

Thirty-Six Couples Wait for Every One Baby Who is Adopted
A recent article asked, “Why do more people choose abortion over adoption?” The author, Kristi Brown, commented:
Countless women in the U.S. choose abortion over adoption for their unborn babies every year. When I sat in on counseling sessions at a pregnancy center, I learned that women are often very closed to the idea of adoption. They either want to keep their baby themselves or get rid of the baby now. Adoption statistics are hard to track, since states are not necessarily required to report domestic adoptions. However, the numbers are grim, and much of it is owing to abortion.

Family Christian Stores Releases Its Own Tablet
Capitalizing on the booming e-book market, Family Christian Stores (FCS) has released its own tablet. Edifi is comparable, but a bit smaller—although same screen size—than Barnes & Noble's Nook Color and Nook Tablet and Amazon's Kindle Fire...