Thursday, February 28, 2013

Anglican Unscripted Episode 66

Feb 28, 2013

The Episcopal Church is being accused of buying the election for the new Primate of Tanzania and of course Kevin and George discuss this and it's implications for the New Archbishop of Canterbury. Your hosts also discuss the ever growing controversy over Reconciliation and Justin Welby's desire to model it in this fractured Anglican Communion. Peter and Allan will return next week with updates and we ask you keep George in your prayers as he recovers from surgery.

Scrolling around....February 28, 2013

Women Take Biden's Shotgun Advice

All The President’s Thugs.  Hey, Bob, you can’t say we didn’t warn you. We knew this White House was capable of attacking even the great Bob Woodward for telling the truth...

Forbes: Sequester This! President Obama's Colossal Media Blunder
...My bet is you’ll see stories about the bottomless pit of waste, fraud, pork, cronyism, malinvestment, and idiocy that characterize so much of business as usual in Washington. With a glut of examples a mere Google search away, it won’t be long before even the most disengaged voter—facing some Obama-generated inconvenience and having these stories shoved in his face—asks, “What do you mean I can’t get my passport renewed? Couldn’t they fire Obama’s $100,000 a year dog trainer instead?” And if this phony “austerity” is imposed on the rest of us, how do you think the public will react to the First Lady’s next multi-million dollar vacation?...

New Zealand: Churches and Celebrants Not Protected By Marriage Bill
...“This Bill will provide a culture of coercion whereby celebrants or registrars that don’t fall within the exemptions will not be lawfully able to refuse to perform a same-sex marriage by reason of the same-sex of the couple. This proposed Select Committee amendment undercuts Louisa Wall’s assurances to Parliament, and provides a much narrower exemption than that provided by the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act which states that everybody has the right of freedom of religion and belief, and the right to manifest that belief or view.”...

NY gov's abortion bill would hurt women
...The unnamed coalition, including doctors of different faiths who deliver babies and work with women after abortions, said its opposition to the governor's bill is based on medical experience, not their religious beliefs.

They said late-term abortions, which they defined as after 24 weeks, aren't intended to protect the health of a woman, as the bill's name implies. A fetus at 24 weeks is likely to survive outside the womb and a late-term abortion they say poses more complications for the woman, said Dr. Anne Nolte of The National Gianna Center for Women's Health and Fertility in New York City.

The doctors said most studies are skewed to support an abortion-rights position and fail to consider lower level but chronic stress, anguish and depression suffered by many women who undergo abortions. They said the studies provide a slanted public view of the abortion debate that goes beyond religious beliefs...

Catholic expert details ‘Huge homosexual underground in the Church’
A recent paper by a Ph.D. priest from Poland has been circling the globe in recent weeks and given heightened prominence by the recent revelations of a Vatican inquiry into a “gay mafia” inside the Vatican. “Standing with the Pope against homoheresy,” was written in late 2012 by Fr. Dariusz Oko, Ph.D., a priest of the Archdiocese of Krakow and Assistant Professor at the John Paul II Pontifical University in Krakow...

Supreme Court muzzles free speech in Canada, rules against Catholic pro-family activist
Canada’s top court has released an unanimous decision today that critics say has struck a monumental blow against freedom of speech, opinion, and religion across the country. The court ordered the defendant, a Catholic pro-family activist with a reputation for intense activism, not only to pay a fine, but also to pay court costs which could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars...

Nike, Apple, Facebook Among U.S. Companies That Intend To Back Gay Marriage In Coming Supreme Court Cases
...The brief to be filed in the Proposition 8 case, a draft of which was obtained by Reuters, has been joined by such companies as Apple Inc, Nike Inc, Facebook Inc, Morgan Stanley, Intel Corp, Xerox Corp, AIG Inc and Cisco Systems Inc...

McDonald's: More Influence Than Christianity?
...Think about that for a moment: If there are 19 churches for every 1 McDonalds, why does the church today have so little influence in our culture? Obviously its not just a numbers game, but when it comes to “presence” the church should have a much greater influence...

California Baptist University Sued by Expelled Transgender Student
...In August 2011, Javier appeared on the MTV program "True Life" and revealed that while identifying as a female, he had been born male.
While California Baptist had accepted Javier for a degree in nursing, the university caught wind of the MTV program and reversed course...

Thousands Gather for Pope’s Final Public Address

February 27, 2013

VATICAN CITY — He circumnavigated St. Peter’s Square in the popemobile for the last time. He gave his final waves to cheering masses. And most profoundly, Pope Benedict XVI bestowed his valedictory words to the world on Wednesday in a heartfelt, sometimes wistful address that highlighted the price of being a pope — and its rays of happiness.

His eight-year papacy held moments of “joy and light,” at times resembling the boat carrying Peter and the other apostles on the Sea of Galilee, enjoying many days of sun, gentle breezes and abundant fish, Benedict told tens of thousands of people during his general audience, which was moved to a sun-soaked St. Peter’s Square from the usual auditorium to accommodate the crowd. the rest

Final hours for Pope Benedict XVI as head of church

Pope Benedict's Pontificate in 2 Minutes

Va. Supreme Court Hears Appeal Of Ruling Vs. Breakaway Anglicans

February 27, 2013
The Virginia Supreme Court in Richmond yesterday heard the oral arguments of an appeal by the breakaway Falls Church Anglicans, seeking to reverse a January 2012 ruling by the Fairfax Circuit Court returning the property of the historic Falls Church in downtown City of Falls Church to the Episcopal Church.

The Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Cynthia D. Kinser, also heard arguments from attorneys representing the national Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and the Falls Church Episcopal Church.

A final decision from the Supreme Court is expected by the end of April.

The breakaway congregation, which remains under the leadership of the Rev. John Yates and has been worshiping at different locations in Northern Virginia since being forced to vacate the historic church a year ago, was joined in its appeal by an amicus brief from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli which supported the Anglicans on one aspect of their appeal, the disposition of financial contributions made to them while they occupied the historic church. the rest

...Present at today’s Supreme Court hearing were the Rev. John Ohmer and the Rev. Cathy Tibbets of the continuing Falls Church Episcopalian congregation, and Yates was present for the breakaway Anglicans. On the Anglican web site, Yates wrote, “We do know that we have a Great Advocate in Christ, that He is for us.”

Two of the seven Supreme Court judges recused themselves from the case for potential conflict of interest reasons, and they were replaced for the case, which was over in less than two hours.

Each side had 20 minutes to make its case, and following that came questions and answers. The Episcopal Church was backed in the case by an amicus brief filed on behalf of three national Protestant denominations, the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013



Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Suggestions for Fasting and Feasting:

Fast from discontent; feast on thankfulness.
Fast from worry; feast on trust.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayers.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from discouragement, feast on hope.
Fast from media hype, feast on the honesty of the Bible.
Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from problems that overwhelm;
feast on prayer that undergirds.
-Author unknown image

Scrolling around...February 26, 2013

Sudan: Christians Arrested To Appease Islam?
...The arrests are the latest in a string of anti-Christian acts in Sudan. Heritage Foundation Africa analyst and Allison Center Director Steven Bucci believes that by ramping up persecution, Bashir is seeking to appease his supporters...

Tanzania: Muslims Behead Another Christian Pastor
...On February 11, Pastor Mathayo Kachili of the Tanzania Assemblies of God Church was beheaded by Muslims...

How Obamacare will devastate non-profits
...The cost of providing insurance to employees of the non-profit, or paying a fine for not providing the insurance, would be so expensive that the organization would have to fire 53% of its employees AND increase donations by 112%. Otherwise, the organization would be bankrupt in 28 months.
The Board sat is stunned silence. Someone whispered in a choked voice, “I don't think that’s right. Obamacare will lower costs”. There was fearful, whispered assent, like the voices on the Island in “Lost”.

 “I wish,” my friend said, “but that’s just not the case”.

What ensued was denial by the Board of Directors – a Board consisting of high-income, well-to-do White Liberals.

 So we see yet another consequence of passing a law that nobody has actually read...

Horror Vid: College Students Play "Abortion Battles" as Birthday Game
College students at Hunter College, a public college in New York City, celebrated a birthday with ice cream cake, balloons, and a horrific birthday game they called "Abortion Wars" where students put a balloon under their shirt and try to pop the balloon with a fork while some students even yell "Kill the baby!!!" and "Kill it!!!"...  (I couldn't watch it. -PD)

Journalism That Dare Not Speak Its Name
If you're a reporter at the Washington Post and you aspire to write unsigned editorials, just send an email to the ombudsman.

That's a lesson one might draw from yesterday's extraordinary column by Patrick Pexton, the veteran journalist who, according to the Post's website, "represents readers who have concerns or complaints" about "accuracy, fairness, ethics and the newsgathering process." One such reader wrote to both Pexton and a Post reporter to complain that the paper's coverage of same-sex marriage gives "short shrift" to "the conservative, pro-family side of the argument."

Older Entrepreneurs Are Better Than Younger Ones
...By comparison, older entrepreneurs have learned from their past mistakes. They aren’t flummoxed by the twists and turns of starting a new company. That means fewer dead ends and misdirections.

They also know that life is short, particularly at their age. This makes them pragmatic and, in a vital way, detached. They use their days more wisely, in large part because they aren’t distracted by the money chase or office politics. If they determine that their venture isn’t going to make it, they’ll put a bullet in the enterprise and walk away...

Choose Your Pope!


Act Of Sportsmanship Gives Texas High Schooler Shot At Glory

Feb 23, 2013

Monday, February 25, 2013

Scrolling around...February 25, 2013

The Dutch experiment in legalised prostitution has been a disaster
...The brothel boom is over. A third of Amsterdam’s bordellos have been closed due to the involvement of organised criminals and drug dealers and the increase in trafficking of women. Police now acknowledge that the red-light district has mutated into a global hub for human trafficking and money laundering. The streets have been infiltrated by grooming gangs seeking out young, vulnerable girls and marketing them to men as virgins who will do whatever they are told. Many of those involved in Amsterdam’s regular tourist trade — the museums and canals — fear that their visitors are vanishing along with the city’s reputation...

Iceland’s Plan To Ban Internet Porn Sparks Uproar
...Advocates say it is a sensible measure that will shelter children from serious harm.

"When a 12-year-old types `porn' into Google, he or she is not going to find photos of naked women out on a country field, but very hardcore and brutal violence," said Halla Gunnarsdottir, political adviser to the interior minister.

"There are laws in our society. Why should they not apply to the Internet?"...

NY: All the Governor’s priorities
What should Albany be devoting its time to these days? Gov. Cuomo seems to think it’s abortion....

Woman Sues Planned Parenthood for Forced Abortion and Medical Malpractice
Live Action and Fox News report that a Colorado woman has filed suit against Planned Parenthood for subjecting her to an abortion she had refused and then abandoning her when she experienced complications.

Ayanna Byer asserts that she told the Planned Parenthood abortionist that she had decided against having an abortion, but that the doctor went ahead with the procedure despite this. Then, “due to Ms Byer crying from pain” she alleges that the same doctor stopped before the abortion was complete. She says she was given prescriptions for pain and antibiotics and sent home...

Listen Up Ladies! Uncle Sam Might Want You Too
...Now that front-line infantry, armor, artillery and special operations jobs are open to female volunteers who can meet the physical requirements, it will be difficult for anyone to make a persuasive argument that women should continue to be exempt from registration, said Diane Mazur, a law professor at the University of Florida and a former Air Force officer.

"They're going to have to show that excluding women from the draft actually improves military readiness," Mazur said. "I just don't see how you can make that argument."...

Pope Benedict XVI shutting down @Pontifex Twitter account
...The 1.5 million users that are following the Pope will be following one less person by 8 PM Vatican Time (CET) time on February 28, which coincides with the official exit from his position. Vatican Radio says that he’ll send out a final tweet before then...

Super-storm Sandy Aid to Help Rebuild Nightclubs, not Churches

Girl Scouts 'give thanks' for membership in worldwide pro-abortion organization
...And Rochelle has caught news of a further connection Girl Scouts has with the abortion industry. Earlier this month, a press release was published on behalf of “Girl Scouts, Why Not?” which alerts readers to an event that was held for the Girl Scouts by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Georgia. The press release states that its purpose is about “warning families about the political and immoral indoctrination taking place in the leadership levels of the Girl Scouts.”

The term “indoctrination” is well-chosen, particularly considering the kind of events held for Girl Scouts and the information available and promoted to its members. The RNC for Life recently published a short piece as well about the Girl Scouts and contains several links, including a position statement from WAGGGS, “talking about sex.” The “Happy, Healthy, and Hot” booklet from International Planned Parenthood Federation is also displayed on the website of the World YWCA, a partner of WAGGGS...

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Not that Jesus’s concept of Messiahship corresponded to Jewish expectations. His notion reflected his view of God’s eschatological kingdom, which he preached as a reality brought into being by his own ministry. He saw the kingdom as a new relationship between penitent sinners and God as their heavenly Father, a relationship achieved through commitment to himself as their sovereign Saviour; and he saw his lordship as based on his call to be God’s suffering servant, the innocent one who, having died for the others’ sins, is then vindicated by being restored to life. ...James I. Packer image

Friday, February 22, 2013

Christ will be Master of the heart...

Christ will be Master of the heart, and sin must be mortified... If your life is unholy your heart is unchanged; and if your heart is unchanged you are an unsaved person. If the Saviour has not sanctified you, renewed you, given you a hatred of sin and a love of holiness, He has done nothing in you of a saving character. The grace which does not make a man better than others is a worthless counterfeit. Christ saves His people not in their sins, but from them. ...CH Spurgeon image

Scrolling around...February 22, 2013

The Islamization of Spanish Jurisprudence-Spain Submits to "Adoption Jihad"
...Spain has acceded to the demands of the Islamist government in Morocco by agreeing that Moroccan children adopted by Spanish families must remain culturally and religiously Muslim.
The agreement obliges the Spanish government to establish a "control mechanism" that would enable Moroccan religious authorities to monitor the children until they reach the age of 18 to ensure they have not converted to Christianity...

Why your boss is dumping your wife: Companies dumping spouses under Obamacare
By denying coverage to spouses, employers not only save the annual premiums, but also the new fees that went into effect as part of the Affordable Care Act....

Australia: Religion to lose protected status
Religious organisations running schools, health and aged-care services face losing key exemptions to Labor's new anti-discrimination laws under recommendations that could see them sued by people who disagree with church ethos...

Christian “Sunday People” Being Cleansed from Egypt
...Virtually no Jews remain in Egypt. And today, hundreds of thousands of Copts have already fled – those able to afford airfare and lawyers have sought asylum in the US and Canada...

Indian police: Three young sisters raped and killed
Indian police said Thursday that they have launched a manhunt for men suspected of raping and killing three sisters, ages 5 to 11, in the latest case of sexual violence to grip the country...

China's Christians see mounting persecution in country's effort to disband churches, report finds
...Last year, the government mounted a new three-phase approach designed to wipe out unregistered house churches by forcing them to join the official "Three-Self Patriotic Movement" and stop defining themselves as churches. The phase included having China's State Administration for Religious Affairs secretly investigate house churches and create files on them, the report found. The current wave of crackdowns, which began midway through 2012, is part of the second phase, according to Fu...

Conservatives Blast Calif. Lawmaker’s Effort to Strip Boy Scouts of Tax Exemption

Michigan abortionist: 'It’s too late for me, I’m possessed'
"We told him that we could help him. He answered that it was too late for that, he was possessed, and he proceeded to give us a number…50,000. We don’t know what this number meant. He had a stack of cash, about four inches wide in his pocket, and his scrubs all dirty and stained in blood. His speech was very slow, and not very clear. When walking, Alexander seemed not very coordinated, almost like if he had been drinking."

After Pope Benedict’s Resignation, NY Times Unleashes Record Hate A brief rundown of the Times' attacks from the past week...

Euthanasia’s Euphemisms
...Assisted suicide is suicide.The term is descriptive and accurate. When legalized, it amounts to state-approved suicide, an issue too culturally consequential for us to allow gooey euphemisms to serve as the sugar that helps the bitter hemlock go down.
Quebec physicians rise up en masse against proposed euthanasia law

Veterans Could Be Banned From Owning Firearms, Says VA Letter
...The letter, sent by the Department of Veteran Affairs and published at, indicated that veterans, men and women who shed blood to protect the U.S., could be banned from owning or in any way possessing a firearm should government officials deem that action appropriate.
"A determination of incompetency will prohibit you from purchasing, possessing, receiving, or transporting a firearm or ammunition. If you knowingly violate any of these prohibitions, you may be fined, imprisoned, or both pursuant to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, Pub.L.No. 103-159, as implemented at 18, United States Code 924(a)(2)."...

New CA bill pushes Scouts, little leagues, religious groups to accept LGBT, “Gender Identity”
...SB 323, sponsored by Equality California and introduced by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D – Long Beach) threatens to revoke tax exempt status for a wide range of “youth groups” unless they agree to abandon any criteria related to gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and other categories.

The bill was designed to pressure the Boy Scouts to accept homosexuality, but its sweep goes much further. The bill specifically targets groups ranging from the Scouts to Special Olympics, Little League, Pop Warner, 4-H, Future Farmers of America, as well as youth sports in general. It also references private schools and “youth groups.”...

Parents' fury as TSA agents detain their crying wheelchair-bound daughter, THREE, and confiscate her stuffed animal
The parents of a toddler with spinal bifida are outraged after TSA officials forced their daughter to undergo a series of additional security measures ahead of their flight to Disney World.

Nathan and Annie Forck were flying out of their home state of Missouri on a February 8 flight bound for Orlando, Florida with their wheelchair-bound daughter Lucy and their two other children.

Mrs Forck took a six-minute video detailing their toddler’s cries as she said through tears that she didn’t want to go to Disney World anymore, and is claiming the TSA discriminates against people who use mobility devices...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The sovereignty of Christ...

The sovereignty of Christ from the cross is a new sovereignty. It has destroyed forever the formula that might is right. It has put to shame the self-assertion of false heroism. It has surrounded with imperishable dignity the completeness of sacrifice. It has made clear to the pure heart that the prerogative of authority is wider service. the divine King rules forever by dying. ...Brooke Foss Wescott image

Scrolling around...February 21, 2013

Allegheny College’s Ford Memorial Chapel was transformed into a boudoir of sorts Wednesday night, as professional sex educators advised students in attendance how best to touch themselves and their partners to reach orgasm in what was billed as an educational seminar.

The chapel, built and dedicated in 1902, is where Catholic mass and non-denominational services are conducted every week at the private liberal arts college in northwestern Pennsylvania. But all that took a back pew to Wednesday’s festivities, dubbed “I Heart the Female Orgasm” and hosted by a variety of student groups on campus...

The Gay Animals’ Publicist
“A university academic has criticised David Attenborough’s wildlife shows for not featuring enough gay animals,” reports The Independent. The academic, named Mills, who I hope is a very, very distant relative, writing in the European Journal of Cultural Studies...

“UK pushes to outlaw reparative therapy ahead of gay ‘marriage’ vote”
While pressure continues at the international level to prohibit psychotherapists from offering help to those wanting to overcome same-sex attraction, a Canadian therapist has told a British audience that such bans are “unethical.” A debate, billed as a discussion on the “legitimacy and freedom to offer sexual reorientation,” was held at Westminster in late January organized by Christian Concern and Core Issues Trust ahead of a debate in the House of Commons on the government’s “gay marriage” bill...

Massachusetts forces schools to let ‘transgender’ boys use girls’ restrooms, lockers
 Massachusetts Commissioner of Education Mitchell Chester has issued orders to the state’s K-12 public schools requiring them to permit “transgender” boys and girls to use the opposite sex’s locker rooms, bathrooms, and changing facilities as long as they claim to identify with that gender...

Abortion group hires Obama-linked consulting firm to grill pro-lifers at home
The pro-abortion organization NARAL Pro-Choice America hired a consulting firm linked to President Barack Obama to conduct extensive video interviews with young pro-life activists in their homes more than a year ago, without informing the pro-life activists that the videos were intended for NARAL’s use.
At least one of the videos was aired this month at NARAL’s Washington dinner introducing the organization’s new president, Ilyse Hogue. The video was presented at the dinner in order to show pro-choice activists the “passion” of pro-lifers on the other side of the issue “in an effort to fire up (NARAL) members.” President Obama also sent a video message to NARAL that was shown at the dinner....

Medical examiner says abortion complications caused Morbelli death
"There can be no doubt now that Jennifer died an avoidable death from abortion complications at the hands of LeRoy Carhart..."

Georgetown University May Elect First Openly Homosexual Student Body President

How Universities Devalued Higher Education
...I argued that, “to increase transparency and accountability further, the Legislature should require all universities to include on transcripts not only the grade the student received for each class, but also the overall average grade for the class. This would tell prospective employers whether or not a given student’s high grade-point average was the product of exceptional work or of enrolling in what today’s students call ‘Mick’ (for ‘Mickey Mouse’) courses.”
We need such legislation, I wrote, because studies reveal that the time students spend studying has declined in the last 50 years from 24 to 14 hours a week. “Worse, grades during this period have, paradoxically, increased. Approximately 43 percent of all college grades today are A’s, an increase of 28 percentage points since 1960. Inflated grades only serve to diminish the value of a college degree.”
The claim that raised questions was my recounting a study that finds that “43 percent of all college grades today are A’s, an increase of 28 percentage points since 1960.” PolitiFact, which has a partnership with the Statesman, was contacted to test the accuracy of my statement....

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Anglican Unscripted Episode 65

Feb 20, 2013

This week Kevin and George tackle the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI -- bantering about the fallout from the press and his decade of achievements. Justing Welby the Archbishop of Canterbury had his first week at Lambeth Palace and your Hosts bring you insider perspectives and remark on his first three achievements. In response to your questions and prompting we tackle Gafcon II and the lack of intel available and AU65 finishes with a frank discussion about Ashes-2-Go.

"The trees of the Lord are full of sap."

"The trees of the Lord are full of sap." -Psalm 104:16

Without sap the tree cannot flourish or even exist. Vitality is essential to a Christian. There must be life—a vital principle infused into us by God the Holy Ghost, or we cannot be trees of the Lord. The mere name of being a Christian is but a dead thing, we must be filled with the spirit of divine life. This life is mysterious. We do not understand the circulation of the sap, by what force it rises, and by what power it descends again. So the life within us is a sacred mystery. Regeneration is wrought by the Holy Ghost entering into man and becoming man's life; and this divine life in a believer afterwards feeds upon the flesh and blood of Christ and is thus sustained by divine food, but whence it cometh and whither it goeth who shall explain to us? What a secret thing the sap is! The roots go searching through the soil with their little spongioles, but we cannot see them suck out the various gases, or transmute the mineral into the vegetable; this work is done down in the dark. Our root is Christ Jesus, and our life is hid in him; this is the secret of the Lord. The radix of the Christian life is as secret as the life itself. How permanently active is the sap in the cedar! In the Christian the divine life is always full of energy—not always in fruit-bearing, but in inward operations. The believer's graces are not every one of them in constant motion, but his life never ceases to palpitate within. He is not always working for God, but his heart is always living upon him. As the sap manifests itself in producing the foliage and fruit of the tree, so with a truly healthy Christian, his grace is externally manifested in his walk and conversation. If you talk with him, he cannot help speaking about Jesus. If you notice his actions you will see that he has been with Jesus. He has so much sap within, that it must fill his conduct and conversation with life. ...CH Spurgeon image

Two Coptic Christians Murdered & Beheaded In New Jersey, Media Silent


…Yusuf Ibrahim, a Muslim man, targeted and murdered two Coptic Egyptian Christian men who lived and worked in New Jersey. He beheaded them and cut off their hands
…A Jersey City man was charged with murder today for allegedly shooting two other men from the city at point-blank range, cutting off their heads and hands and burying them in a shallow grave behind a home in a rural area of Atlantic County, state authorities said.
Troopers arrested Yusuf Ibrahim, 27, at an apartment in Bayonne on Sunday after investigators worked over the weekend to piece together a trail of clues that stretched from Jersey City to Buena Vista Township to Philadelphia, State Police said at a news conference at the agency’s forensic laboratory in Hamilton.
….The severed bodies were found in the shallow grave, investigators said, and their body parts were found nearby. The two men killed were foreign nationals, State Police said, and their identities were being withheld because of the difficulty notifying family members…  the rest

Muslim accused of beheading 2 Christians in US

Jihad murder in New Jersey? Coptic Christians beheaded, hands cut off

Freedom is the issue

By Vinay Samuel and Chris Sugden
Posted February 20, 2013

The heart of the gay agenda
It is this feeling of being discriminated against, marginalized, victimized, oppressed and excluded that is at the heart of the "gay agenda". Any view that suggests their sexuality and behaviour are other than the societal norm must be suppressed, including holding contrary opinions on the matter. Any expression of the view that marriage is between a man and a woman is held to stigmatize those who believe that marriage is gender neutral. Such alternative views are claimed to be prejudiced, to stigmatise others, and to be the source of unhappiness and searches for "change". Such stigmatization has to be banished from society by the state.

 Therefore even holding such an opinion is wrong - or rather causes offence and hurt, and must be eliminated. Even if the state admits diversity and plurality, certain pluralities cannot exist.

 This position is based on a view of the common good. The common good of equality is defined as equality of outcome (no one must be given any reason for feeling "unequal" to anyone else). This understanding of the common good is determined by majority opinion (which is why opinion polls and "the changing culture" feature so strongly in the argumentation). Such a notion of equality trumps everything. There is no hierarchy of rights that can be sustained in the face of its claims. There is no place for a "bill of rights" or "rights of conscience" or "freedom of belief". The state is then asked to use the law to enforce the common good. There is a contradiction at its heart, between the call for diversity (of gender relationships) and equality (sameness, uniformity) of outcome....

 The Same-sex Couples bill, on the evidence already of the second reading in the House of Commons, would suppress equality of opportunity, the right to express dissent, the liberty and very existence of "mediating" institutions that did not conform to the state's ideology in the name of the offence caused to those who would feel stigmatized because of the implication of their "difference". And this is being done by the Conservative Party leadership in the name of "Conservatism."

Full essay

Scrolling around...February 20, 2013

 GAO Report: Obama's Policies 'Not Sustainable'
For two months, reporters and lawmakers have ignored a devastating report from the federal government itself, which warns that the nation's current fiscal policy will lead to economic collapse.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO)—the personal auditor of President Obama and the federal government—released its assessment of the federal government on January 17, 2013. The report's findings illuminate just how dire America's spending problem is and, therefore, how little the current cuts debated by Congress do to fix it...

The Legacy of Benedict XVI
At his election in 2005, some thought of him as a papal place-keeper: a man who would keep the Chair of Peter warm for a few years until a younger papal candidate emerged. In many other ways, and most recently by his remarkably self-effacing decision to abdicate, Joseph Ratzinger proved himself a man of surprises. What did he accomplish, and what was left undone, over a pontificate of almost eight years?...

Iceland considers pornography ban
The government is considering introducing internet filters, such as those used to block China off form the worldwide web, in order to stop Icelanders downloading or viewing pornography on the internet.
The unprecedented censorship is justified by fears about damaging effects of the internet on children and women...

200,000 UK Abortions, 98%, Done on Mental Health Grounds
...So in other words if the mother thinks that continuing with the pregnancy poses a greater risk to her mental health than having an abortion then she is right, regardless of what the medical evidence actually shows...

Wiccan inmates can sue to gain chaplain

Christian women's group fires back at SNL's 'DJesus Uncrossed' parody
A conservative Christian women's group said Tuesday that "Saturday Night Live" intended to "degrade and taunt" with a video short that appeared on last weekend's show called "DJesus Uncrossed" — a faux Quentin Tarantino revenge film starring a resurrected Jesus Christ.
The group said the late-night show wouldn't dare be that irreverent with Islam.
What Do We Do When Jesus Is Mocked?
...Rather than take the time and effort to show how offended we are at the portrayal of Jesus as revenge-seeking murderer, why not take the moment of airtime to affirm what makes this skit humorous. This is an opportunity to say, “Yes, the reason this is funny is because Jesus would not do something like this. In fact his words to those who were crucifying them was, ‘Father, forgive them for they no not what they are doing.’” This is who Jesus is and that’s the Jesus people need to know...

That Tail Ain't a Leg
...Lincoln asked, “If I call a tail a leg, how many legs does a sheep have? Five? No, just four. Calling the tail a leg doesn’t make it so.” In the same, way, calling a human a slave doesn’t make him less human, even if he is treated less humanely.

Lincoln used this illustration to make the point that unilaterally and arbitrarily redefining words doesn’t change reality. You might succeed at fooling a few for awhile, but eventually someone is going catch on and call out the deception.

Today, homosexual activists have tried to co-opt the allusion to slavery to advance their demand to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples. Nice try, but if Lincoln were chiming in, he would undoubtedly bring up Euclid. A union of two men or two women is not the same as the union of one man and one woman, and all the rhetorical sleights of hand can’t change that biological and social reality...

Doctor: Why I Quit Doing Abortions at Planned Parenthood
...“I just wanted to let you know, you’ve touched my heart. For years…too many years to count, I murdered countless children..up until 3 months ago that is. I believed I was doing what was best at the time. I worked for Planned Parenthood.

I became hardened and cold to the fact, I was killing children. How I, a physician who had taken an oath to preserve life can perform abortions — can actually kill defenseless unborn babies — literally ripped out, many times in pieces, from the mother’s womb, is beyond me..but I see it now. Partial-birth abortions was my living. :’(

Finally one day, something hit me…and my hard-heart began to soften. After receiving a pro-life tract, and having read it; I got angry, but I didn’t throw it away. And then for some reason, I couldn’t perform abortions anymore.

I broke down that day and felt like I had died on the inside. Millions of emotions came at me and I had a weight of guilt, on my shoulders so heavy. So heavy, worse than any depression I’ve ever felt.

I felt like, for every baby I had taken from this world, a part of me died as well. I cry as I write this. I cry for the mothers, the fathers..who decided because of “choice” they would kill their children. I cry for the babies, who were brutally murdered at my hand. It takes a lot to admit that. ALOT.

Where is the churches? The outreach groups? Get out there! Do something. Please! Don’t say, “it isn’t my field” Shouldn’t it be every moral person’s responsibility, to defend the defenseless? And don’t tell me pro-life outreach doesn’t work, or tracts don’t help. It certainly did for me..."

Guardian wins week one of 2013 All-England pope-bashing contest
It’s a wonderful life. My heart has been singing songs of joy every morning as I take up my newspapers and survey the latest news on the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI. For a critic of religion reporting these are the good times — no slogging through continental newspapers to find a story to review for this blog. I am spoiled for choice just by reading the British press. Some of the stories have been so silly and wrong-headed as to be bizarre...

The Explosive Growth of U.S. Megachurches, Even While Many Say Their Day is Done
...The fact is that many practices found in smaller churches trickle down from larger ones, but also because we are a numbers-oriented culture-- we want our church to grow, so we try to copy what the growing churches are doing.

While imitation is often the greatest form of flattery and many copy their methods, their terminology, and their programs, megachurches tend to face scrutiny-- some fair and some unfair. In the process, several unhelpful things are said about them either out of jealousy or ignorance. One piece of misinformation spread about megachurches is that they are a dying breed.

I have heard this over and over again-- that the megachurch is dying out. That people are wising up and getting into organic churches. That the mindless robots who blindly follow a the charlatan megachurch pastor have seen the light. The day of the megachurch is done.

One problem: the claims are just not true (and some of it is quite insulting to many passionate believers who attend megachurches who actually have higher levels of involvement and service according to the best research)...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What is needed for happy effectual service...

What is needed for happy effectual service is simply to put your work into the Lord's hand, and leave it there. Do not take it to Him in prayer, saying, "Lord, guide me, Lord, give me wisdom, Lord, arrange for me," and then arise from your knees, and take the burden all back, and try to guide and arrange for yourself. Leave it with the Lord, and remember that what you trust to Him you must not worry over nor feel anxious about. Trust and worry cannot go together. ...Hannah Whitall Smith image

TEC gay marriage task force formed

Group to find a theological rationale for marriage
Anglican Ink
February 19, 2013

The Presiding Bishop and President of the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church have named 12 people to serve on the church’s Task Force on the Study of Marriage that will try to find a theological rationale for the church's recent change in doctrine on gay marriage.

In a statement released on 14 Feb 2013, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said the group would help the church chart its way forward as it seeks to find a theological rationale for the changes introduced last year. At the July 2012 General Convention the Episcopal Church authorized temporary provisional rites for blessing same-sex unions and authorized a study group to examine the doctrine of marriage.

In a statement accompanying the announcement, the presiding bishop wrote: “The theology of marriage has evolved over time, with biblical examples including polygamy, concubinage, and other forms of relationship no longer sanctioned in The Episcopal Church.”

“We no longer expect that one partner promise to obey the other, that parents give away their children to be married, or that childbearing is the chief purpose of marriage. This task force is charged not only to take the pulse of our current theological understanding of the meaning of marriage, but to assist the faithful in conversation and discernment about marriage, in particular what the Church might hold up as “holy example” of the love between Christ and his Church.”

While the Episcopal Church has never sanctioned polygamy and concubinage, in the Twentieth century it modified its practices on divorce and remarriage. the rest

Really cute animals

Monday, February 18, 2013

Tell God all that is in your heart...

Tell God all that is in your heart, as one unloads one's heart, its pleasures and its pains, to a dear friend. Tell Him your troubles, that He may comfort you; tell Him your joys, that He may sober them; tell Him your longings, that He may purify them; tell Him your dislikes, that He may help you conquer them; talk to Him of your temptations, that He may shield you from them: show Him the wounds of your heart, that He may heal them; lay bare your indifference to good, your depraved tastes for evil, your instability. Tell Him how self-love makes you unjust to others, how vanity tempts you to be insincere, how pride disguises you to yourself and others.

If you thus pour out all your weaknesses, needs, troubles, there will be no lack of what to say. You will never exhaust the subject. It is continually being renewed. People who have no secrets from each other never want for subjects of conversation. They do not weigh their words, for there is nothing to be held back; neither do they seek for something to say. They talk out of the abundance of the heart, without consideration they say just what they think. Blessed are they who attain to such familiar, unreserved intercourse with God. ... François Fénelon photo

All eyes on Texas, S.C. church property fights

By G. Jeffrey Macdonald
Monday, February 18, 2013

When disgruntled congregations have left hierarchical denominations such as the Episcopal Church, they’ve often lost property battles as civil courts ruled buildings and land are not theirs to keep.

But outcomes could be different this year, court watchers say, as high-profile cases involving dozens of Episcopal congregations in South Carolina and Texas wind their way through state courts. That prospect has observers watching for insights that could shape legal strategies in other states and denominations.

Both cases involve conservative dioceses that voted to leave the Episcopal Church over homosexuality, among other issues. In South Carolina, congregations representing about 22,000 people are suing the Episcopal Church for control of real estate worth some $500 million and rights to the diocese’s identity. In Texas, the national Episcopal Church is suing about 60 breakaway congregations in the Fort Worth area for properties estimated to be worth more than $100 million. the rest

Director of Reconciliation appointed for Lambeth Palace
Reweaving the torn fabric of the Anglican Communion has become the new Archbishop of Canterbury’s first order of business as he has appointed an Irish priest as Director for Reconciliation at Lambeth Palace. The appointment of Canon David Porter is Justin Welby’s first significant staff appointment, and the appointment of a professional conflict resolution specialist to his inner circle of advisers may foreshadow the priorities of the new archbishop.

On 18 Feb 2013 the Lambeth Palace press office announced that Canon Porter had been seconded by Coventry Cathedral where he remains Canon Director for Reconciliation Ministry’ to Archbishop Welby’s personal staff.

“The focus of Canon David’s role will be to enable the Church to make a powerful contribution to transforming the often violent conflicts which overshadow the lives of so many people in the world,” the statement said.

However, the “initial focus” of Canon Porter’s work “will be on supporting creative ways for renewing conversations and relationships around deeply held differences within the Church of England and the Anglican Communion.”...

Ordination in Kenya of Minister in Anglican Church Plant in Sheffield

February 18th, 2013
Anglican Mainstream

...Although recommended by the Reform Panel of Reference and trained at Oakhill Theological College, Pete had not been ordained since Christ Church Central was not part of Sheffield Diocese. Concern that his ministry and that of the new church should be appropriately recognised led us to consult the leadership of the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE), who subsequently wrote to the GAFCON Primates’ Council with a request that they should facilitate Pete’s ordination.

We are immensely grateful for the leadership of the Archbishop of Kenya, Eliud Wabukala, as chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council, and to the Bishop of Kitui, Josephat Mule, who ordained Pete as a deacon in the Anglican Church of Kenya on Saturday 9th February. We see this event as the latest expression of Gospel partnership between the churches in Sheffield and Kenya. Tim Davies’ father was Provost of Nairobi cathedral in the 1970s, Tim was born in Kenya and is himself an honorary canon of All Saints Cathedral Nairobi. Christ Church Central already supports mission partners in Nairobi... the rest

Scrolling around...February 18, 2013

Radical NY abortion bill could close Catholic hospitals, Church warns
...Among other actions, the act would declare that New York “shall not discriminate against the exercise of [abortion] rights in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services or information.”
According to the Conference, this “no discrimination of abortion rights” provision could “permit state regulators to require support for abortion from any agency or institution licensed or funded by the state.”
Since the state grants medical licenses, New York could deny licenses to — and ultimately shut down —institutions like Catholic or other hospitals and clinics that refuse to support abortion...

A 29-year-old kindergarten teacher  from New York died in a Maryland hospital emergency room on Feb. 7 as a result of a botched abortion. Her death is being investigated by the county coroner and the police. If the New York Senate bill which Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing were the law in Maryland today, the medical examiner and coroner would have no authority to investigate her death. Current County Law section 673 (1)(d) gives governmental investigators in New York the authority to investigate deaths of women caused by abortion. That authority would be eliminated by section 11 of New York Senate Bill 438-2013. Please urge your senators to vote against this bill...

Empire State of Spin-Appeals to “women’s health” once again mask a radical agenda.

New York Doesn't Want Governor Cuomo's Radical Abortion Bill

We have entered the age of the fertility panic. Country after country is discovering that smaller families are causing the population to shrink, which means more old people, and therefore higher government expenses and lower tax revenues. And many of those countries are then jumping to the wrong conclusion: that they should persuade people to have more kids.

The latest victim is the United States, which until recently was proud of its big, corn-fed families, but discovered last year that the economic crisis and constricted immigration have pushed its average family size down to 1.9 children, below the 2.1 needed for population stability.

E.J. Dionne -- The best choice for pope? A nun
The media silly season prior to a conclave may have just reached its peak.  Stand Firm has a great commentary.
Also...Silliest Headline about Vatican from WaPo

An Ohio Christian College Struggles to Further Define Itself
...For much of its history, Cedarville, which was founded in 1887, was affiliated with the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, a fundamentalist organization wary of association even with other conservative groups. But over the past decade, Cedarville, which has 3,400 students, has moved away from its Regular Baptist identity...

NHS must return to Christian basis - bishops
Serious failures in standards of care at Stafford General Hospital are evidence that the "marketisation of the health service has gone too far", two bishops have warned.
The Bishop of Lichfield, the Right Reverend Jonathan Gledhill, and the Bishop of Stafford, the Right Reverend Geoff Annas, made the comments in the Church Times in response to an inquiry into the death of 66-year-old Gillian Astbury at the hospital in 2007.
The inquiry found that hundreds of patients had died as a result of poor levels of care. Police are now considerating whether to bring criminal charges against staff at the NHS hospital.

Cairo court affirms death for 7 Copts over anti-Islam film
A Cairo tribunal on Tuesday upheld death sentences passed on seven Egyptian Coptic Christians in absentia for their involvement in a movie that ridiculed the Prophet Mohammed, a judicial source said...

Companies with relatively young, healthy employees may opt out of the regular health insurance market
...Companies can avoid many standards in the new law by insuring their own employees, rather than signing up with commercial insurers, because Congress did not want to disrupt self-insurance arrangements that were seen as working well for many large employers...

Bye, bye, Facebook: Americans abandoning in droves, says poll
...A new Pew Research Center poll finds that a huge group of users, 61 percent, are taking breaks from Facebook up to "several weeks" long, and that virtually all age groups are decreasing their time on the social media site that recently flopped in its initial public offering of publicly traded stock. Most devastating: 38 percent of users aged 18-29, the focus of advertisers on the site, plan to slash their time on Facebook this year.

The poll's findings that users are pulling back on their Facebook obsession flies in the face of the poll's other finding that Americans are spending more time on social network sites. It didn't indicate where internet users are going instead of Facebook. In Washington, many lawmakers are shifting their attention from Facebook posts to Twitter...

Albert Mohler: The Best Books for Preachers
...The 2012 publishing year was productive for preachers, and the preacher looking for books need not go away hungry. The following is a review of some of the more interesting and important titles of the past publishing year...

 Tom Keller: Preaching to the Collective Heart Recently, a couple of books and websites have referenced me as a good example of how to exegete and “engage culture” in the task of preaching. They include citations of certain cultural references in my sermons. While I know this is meant as a compliment, for which I am grateful, I also have some concerns about the way this practice has been described. I can easily imagine that some (especially younger) preachers will aspire to imitate the method and miss the underlying principle...

 Five Commandments for the Media Savvy Pastor
As a media consultant, I have the opportunity to help some of the largest churches and ministries in the country create effective, high quality media outreaches. In most cases, they are experienced, committed Christian leaders who understand the value and the power of the media. But I also have the opportunity to spend time with less experienced pastors and ministry leaders who feel just as called to use media in a meaningful way, but have serious questions like:

“Will it compromise my message?”
“Will it be too expensive?”
“Will my preaching or teaching ministry really work on television?’
“I only have 100 people in my congregation, can I still use the media?”
“Is it an effective use of our money?”...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Pope Benedict blessing: Tens of thousands hear prayer

17 February 2013
...Tens of thousands of pilgrims have attended St Peter's Square in Rome for one of the final public appearances of Pope Benedict XVI.

He is stepping down on 28 February.

The Pope recited the Angelus prayer and thanked all those who had prayed for him and shown him support over the past few days since his resignation.

The Vatican has said it may hold the conclave that chooses the new pope early, so he can be in place before the start of Holy Week on 24 March... the rest image

Pope in Sunday address: Pray for me and next pope

The Pope Benedict I know
Years ago, I accompanied James Cardinal Hickey, then the archbishop of Washington, to St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, where then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was to give a lecture. After his lecture and after fielding questions from his audience, Cardinal Ratzinger boarded a small plane that would take him and five other passengers to Washington, where he would attend a dinner and then give another lecture. Even though he was suffering from a bad cold and the flight was quite turbulent, Cardinal Ratzinger remained calm and serene. He patiently responded to all our questions and comments during the flight and throughout the day.

At the end of a very long day, I reflected on what I had witnessed. To be sure, then-Cardinal Ratzinger delivered two brilliant lectures and answered every question addressed to him thoroughly and respectfully. But what truly impressed me were his patience, kindness and serenity. Simply put, I was impressed with his humanity and humility. These were the same qualities many other people observed as for years he walked across St. Peter's Square on his way to his office at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He never seemed too busy to stop and chat...

How knowing Latin helped one reporter to get the scoop of the century
"Qui res mundi vellet scire linguam Latinam cognosciat." If you don't know what that means, then join all the reporters who missed one of the greatest journalistic scoops of the 21st century. When Pope Benedict XVI recently abdicated the papacy, he did it in a speech that was supposed to be about the canonization of three saints. But all of a sudden, he began almost whispering in Latin. Giovanna Chirri, the Vatican reporter for ANSA, the leading news wire service in Italy, was covering the regularly scheduled speech. She immediately realized what the Pope was saying...

A.S. Haley: The Episcopal Church-Adrift at Sea, with neither Rudder nor Compass

February 16, 2013

...Today we have reached the point of both temporal and spiritual tyranny: the Church exercises and claims total control over every parish’s real and personal property, and the assembled Bishops ensure that no one who will not stomach their revisions to doctrine and worship shall remain for long among their number.

And now that same spiritual and temporal tyranny has decided to revise itself, out of whole cloth, with no guiding principles whatsoever. The clergy are dominating the process; the laity who participate will be invited to share in the power once they agree to concentrate it. The end result can only be a Church oligarchy—rule of the many by the few.

To which the guidance of “the Holy Spirit” will be but a fillip, a form of window dressing to justify the end reached by tyrannical means. After all, unlike Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit left behind no spoken and timeless words for the guidance of His Church. (Some in ECUSA’s current leadership think of the Holy Spirit as a “she”, anyway, and hence much more conducive to their need for authentication.)...
 the rest image

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Finally, the Devil showed Christ all the kingdoms of the world...

Finally, the Devil showed Christ all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said: All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. All Christ had to do in return was to worship the donor instead of God—which, of course, he could not do. How interesting, though, that power should be at the Devil’s disposal, and only attainable through an understanding with him! Many have thought otherwise, and sought power in the belief that by its exercise they could lead men to brotherhood and happiness and peace, invariably with disastrous consequences. Always in the end the bargain with the Devil has to be fulfilled—as any Stalin or Napoleon or Cromwell must testify. I am the light of the world, Christ said; power belongs to darkness. ... Malcolm Muggeridge image

Scrolling around...February 16, 2013

Fourth Grader Receives Assignment About Infidelity

It’s That Burn-a-Church-after-Friday Prayers Time of the Week
Mid East Christian News (MCN) reports with breaking news that a crowd of enraged Muslims in the town of Sarsana, Fayoum [southwest of Cairo], set fire to the Mar Guirguis Church today, Friday, February 15, after prayers.
The angry mob set the entire roof alight, says MCN, “and the priest was smuggled out before the crowd could assault him.” I wonder if he was lowered in a basket through an opening in the wall like Saul of Tarsus? Actually this was the only bright spot in the entire story because the priest was helped to escape by a Muslim family...

No exams on Wiccan, Pagan holidays at University of Missouri?
...The university’s latest “Guide to Religions: Major Holidays and Suggested Accommodations” — designed to help faculty know when and when not to schedule exams and other student activities — lists eight Wiccan and Pagan holidays and events right alongside more mainstream occasions...

So, not only are taxpayers funding free cell phones, we're also paying for street teams to hock them at hospitals, soup kitchens, carnivals and shelters.

Westernized Zen and the art of hiding sexual abuse
...In this case, however, the leader is Joshu Sasaki Roshi, one of the most famous Zen Buddhist monks in the world and a teacher who has had a tremendous impact in American elite culture. Now, it is being alleged (and in some cases confirmed) that since the 1960s he has sexually abused many, perhaps 100s, of his followers in Southern California and elsewhere...The allegations had lingered, literally, for decades and were allowed to become, in the words of one figure in the scandal “a tribal secret for 50 years.”...

Open the door, please.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that You will be with us...

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that You will be with us today and tonight and forever. Will You keep us from danger and protect us against fear? And will you show us the right way and not let go when we choose the wrong way and when we are in danger? It is wonderful to know that You take hold of our hands, that You hold us tight. And when you hold us tight, You lead us on, all our life. And when You lead us on through life, there will be a day when You bring us home safely. Thank you, Lord Jesus, Amen.
...Corrie Ten Boom image

Scrolling around...February 15, 2013

Imprisoned Pastor Saeed Abedini: 80 Congressmen Urge John Kerry to Intervene
..."This is a significant bi-partisan effort to secure the freedom of a U.S. citizen who faces incredible torture and life-threatening punishment in one of Iran's most brutal prisons – simply because of his Christian beliefs," said Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), in a statement on Thursday.

Syria: two priests abducted on the way to Damascus
Christians in Aleppo are seeking information on the wellbeing of two priests, Father Michel Kayyal (Armenian Catholic) and Father Maher Mahfouz (Greek Orthodox), who were abducted on February 9 by a group of armed rebels on the Aleppo-Damascus road. So far, attempts to open channels and negotiations have failed...

Are ashes to go a Protestant no-no?
This week’s celebration of Ash Wednesday has prompted several stories built around the theme of “ashes to go” — a recent phenomena of liturgical Protestant church ministers — (I’ve seen reports of Methodist, Episcopal and Lutheran clergy involved) imposing ashes on the foreheads of individuals in public places outside of the confines of worship...

Egypt Against Itself: A society on the edge of chaos.
...The economy is hemorrhaging reserves and incapable of securing foreign investment, while Egypt’s currency tumbles to record lows. The international community, captivated two years ago by the revolution, has little confidence that Egypt’s new rulers can make peace between the country’s feuding factions. If the conventional wisdom among Western policymakers holds that Egypt is too big to be allowed to fail, the stark reality is that by many measures it is already failing...

German Church Becomes Mosque
Muslim plans to convert a former Lutheran church in the city of Hamburg into a mosque is generating controversy across Germany.
From Berlin to Dortmund to Mönchengladbach, the gradual proliferation of mosques housed in former churches reflects the rise of Islam as the fastest growing religion in post-Christian Germany. In the most recent case, the church would be the first converted into a mosque in the second-largest city in Germany....

The most painful things I’ve ever borne are betrayals by Christian friends
Here’s how Don Carson recently replied to a question about suffering during a Q and A. (This is a lightly edited transcript from 13:37 to 14:40 in the audio file.)

The Beards of Ministry A field guide for pastoral facial hair...

Meteorite Shower Hits Russia Injuring 524

Meteorite Shower Hits Russia Injuring 524
More than 500 people have been injured after a meteor strike in central Russia, the country’s interior ministry said.

Fragments of at least one meteorite - the weight of a double-decker bus - were seen falling from the sky in the Chelyabinsk region at around 9am local time, around 1,500km east of Moscow.

Russia’s Ministry of Emergencies said 524 people have been injured of which 82 are children. Two people are in intensive care while another 32 adults and 12 children are being treated in hospital...

Update: Meteor injures more than 980 in Russian city