Saturday, August 31, 2013

Clergy removed from ordained ministry in Episcopal Church

Friday, August 30, 2013

More than 100 South Carolina clergy have been notified that they have been removed from the ordained ministry of The Episcopal Church and are “deprived of the right to exercise... the gifts and spiritual authority conferred in ordination.”

“Notice of Removal” letters signed by the Right Reverend Charles G. vonRosenberg, Bishop of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, were issued this week to individuals who are “canonically resident” in the diocese, meaning they are under the authority of Bishop vonRosenberg within The Episcopal Church.

Many of those affected by the removal have publicly announced that they are no longer affiliated with the church, and have aligned themselves with a breakaway group led by Mark Lawrence. Bishop Lawrence was removed from the ordained ministry in December 2012, and is no longer recognized as a bishop in The Episcopal Church.

In the hope of an eventual reconciliation, Bishop vonRosenberg exercised an option available to him under the Constitution and Canons of the church, and “released and removed” the affected clergy, rather than allowing them to be “deposed” on the grounds of abandonment of the church... the rest

Bp. Iker's Statement on the Texas Supreme Court Ruling

A Pastoral Letter from the Bishop

Dear Friends in Christ,

We rejoice in today’s ruling by the Texas Supreme Court overturning the summary judgment in favor of The Episcopal Church. The Supreme Court ruled that the Trial Court erred in deferring to the TEC rather than subjecting TEC’s property claims to the same neutral principles of law that apply to everyone else. The Trial Court must now reconsider the merits of the case based upon neutral principles of law, and we are confident that we will prevail when TEC is subjected to neutral principles of Texas law. In sum, while today’s opinions are not a final victory, they indicate that a final victory is only a matter of time.

The decision in our case must be considered in the light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in a related case, also announced today – that of the Church of the Good Shepherd, San Angelo. Here too the Court reversed lower court opinions in favor of TEC and directed the trial court to decide that case based upon neutral principles of law, rather than deference to an hierarchical church.

Notably, in the Good Shepherd case the Supreme Court ruled that a not-for-profit corporation in Texas can change its articles of incorporation and bylaws, and that such revisions are secular matters, not ecclesiastical ones. The Corporation of our Diocese, which holds title to all our church property, is governed by Texas corporate law and has authority to control its own affairs without interference from TEC or other parties. TEC’s argument – that its national officers can remove officers of a Texas corporation by decree – simply doesn’t comply with Texas law.

As you know, TEC’s claim to our local church property is based upon what is known as “the Dennis Canon.” However, the Supreme Court has ruled that any trust that might have been created by the Dennis Cannon was revocable under Texas law. Our Diocese never acceded to the Dennis Cannon when it was formed, and our Diocesan Convention specifically revoked any such trust interest by TEC more than 20 years ago. Today’s decisions effectively remove the Dennis Canon as a viable argument in Texas property disputes.

We wish to express our gratitude to the justices of the Supreme Court for the hard work that went into these two cases, as evidenced by the time it took them to reach a decision. We also are deeply grateful for the counsel and guidance of our team of lawyers who are representing us in these legal proceedings – Scott Brister, Shelby Sharpe, and David Weaver. We thank them for their wisdom and expertise.

I am especially grateful to all of you, the clergy and laity of this Diocese, for your faithfulness and support during this trying period of time. May God continue to bless you for your courage and steadfastness in the faith. Patience and prayer are still required, but in the end, we will prevail.

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth
August 30, 2013
Found here

Texas Supreme Court overturns lower court decision
The Texas Supreme Court on Friday narrowly overturned a summary judgment in the dispute over property between the two groups that claim to be the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

The 5-4 opinion was handed down Friday in Austin. The high court remanded the case to 141st District Court in Fort Worth “for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.” The Rev. Jack Leo Iker, bishop of a group that left the national Episcopal church, said his members were glad to learn of the ruling. “In sum, while today’s opinions are not a final victory, they indicate that a final victory is only a matter of time,” Iker said in the statement...

Read more here:

NY State Fair 2013

Below are some random pictures Raymond took during our visit to the NYS Fair to enlarge.  -PD the birds of prey exhibit

Horses and wagon

Show at the Coliseum 

Butter sculpture

Hot tub display 

Percussion group

Friday, August 30, 2013

A.S Haley: Bishop Iker and Church of the Good Shepherd Win in Texas

August 31, 2013

Today the Texas Supreme Court handed down decisions in the two ECUSA cases pending before it: No. 11-0265, Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, et al. v. The Episcopal Church, et al.; and No. 11-0332, Masterson v. Diocese of Northwest Texas. In the first case, the Court sided with Bishop Iker's Diocese by a closely split vote of 5-4, reversed the summary judgment of Circuit Judge John Chupp which had awarded all of the property and assets of Bishop Iker's Diocese to the Episcopal Church and its rump diocese, and sent the case back to the trial court. The majority held that the trial court had improperly failed to apply a "neutral principles of law" analysis to the issues. The four dissenters did not disagree with that result, but instead believed that the Court lacked jurisdiction to hear a direct appeal from the trial court's judgment in the case.

In the second case, the Court by a vote of 7-2 reversed the Court of Appeals' decision requiring the Church of the Good Shepherd in San Angelo to turn over its building and all other assets to the Diocese of Northwest Texas. The Court definitively ruled that all Texas courts must follow "neutral principles of law" (rather than deferring to an ecclesiastical hierarchy), and that based on such an analysis, the Dennis Canon was not effective under Texas law (or that if it were effective to create a trust, the trust was not expressly irrevocable, and so could be revoked by the parish in question)... the rest

Comments at Stand Firm TitusOneNine

Scrolling around...August 30, 2013

Massive Lawsuit Filed Against Boy Scouts Of America Includes Local Charters
A lawsuit filed Thursday in King County Superior Court alleges that the Boy Scouts of America continues to cover up a culture that ignored serial pedophiles in its ranks.

The suit was filed on behalf of 12 alleged victims and names 13 scout leaders or volunteers accused of sexual assault. The abuses alleged in the lawsuit include multiple instances of rape of boys as young as 11 years old.

Seattle Attorney Tim Kosnoff says some of the allegations date back to the 1960s. Others are as recent as 2005. Kosnoff called the alleged victims, all of whom are former scouts, courageous for coming forward.

“They did what the Boy Scouts of America did not do. They took the public interest seriously," said Kosnoff. "The Boy Scouts of America have continued to deny, minimize and outright conceal the true nature and scope of pedophile infiltration in scouting."...

Homosexualist and leather retreat in diocese of Sacramento
...The Defenders describe themselves as “a Catholic leather club,” and the About Us section of their webpage says “The Defenders/SF is a club for individuals who value and wish to celebrate both their Leather sexuality and their Christian spirituality.” The webpage of Dignity USA says “The Defenders believe that the leather experience can, when integrated and spiritually informed, actually produce a richer spirituality for us, and for the Church.”

The Leather Spirituality section of the Defenders webpage elaborates on just how a “richer spirituality for the Church could be produced: “What we notice about our sexual experience as leather people is that much of what turns us on sexually has to do with such things as power exchange (dominance/submission); trust in s/m scenes where we feel the power of vulnerability and even fear, whether our own or the placing of another’s in our hands; and the intimacy of intense physical bonding which carries deeper meaning beyond the outward act itself. Words we use in the leather community such as “honor” and “respect” reflect that as well…. For us this has taken us into acknowledging the deeper meanings of our sexuality and its connection to the interior life. We choose to identify that dimension of our life as our spirituality. For us, that connection both grounds ‘spirituality’ in a healthy, freely given sexual life and acknowledges our capacity in sexual activity to have deep and soaring, even ecstatic, experience…”...

U.S. military officers have deep doubts about impact, wisdom of a U.S. strike on Syria
...Some questioned the use of military force as a punitive measure and suggested that the White House lacks a coherent strategy. If the administration is ambivalent about the wisdom of defeating or crippling the Syrian leader, possibly setting the stage for Damascus to fall to fundamentalist rebels, they said, the military objective of strikes on Assad’s military targets is at best ambiguous.

“There’s a broad naivete in the political class about America’s obligations in foreign policy issues, and scary simplicity about the effects that employing American military power can achieve,” said retired Lt. Gen. Gregory S. Newbold, who served as director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the run-up to the Iraq war, noting that many of his contemporaries are alarmed by the plan...

Albert Mohler: “It is the price of citizenship”?—An elegy for religious liberty in America
...Although Justice Bosson concurred with the decision against them, he seemed to understand the plight of the Huguenins:

As devout, practicing Christians, they believe, as a matter of faith, that certain commands of the Bible are not left open to secular interpretation; they are meant to be obeyed. Among these commands, according to the Huguenins, is an injunction against same-sex marriage. On the record before us, no one has questioned the Huguenin’s [sic] devoutness or their sincerity; their religious convictions deserve our respect. In the words of their legal counsel, the Huguenins “believed that creating photographs telling the story of that event [a same-sex wedding] would express a message contrary to their sincerely held beliefs, and that doing so would disobey God.” If honoring same-sex marriage would so conflict with their fundamental religious tenets . . . how then, they ask, can the State of New Mexico compel them to “disobey God” in this case? How indeed?

After asking exactly the right question, Justice Bosson then proceeded to give exactly the wrong answer—and to give it in a way that is both elegiac in tone and tragic in result. Since Elane Photography is a business offering services to the public, it cannot operate on the basis of the Huguenins’ sincerely held Christian principles. According to Bosson, the New Mexico Human Rights Act trumps religious liberty rights when the two come into collision...

IRS continues to hound Tea Party Patriots, demands more data for tax-exempt status
The initial firestorm surrounding the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups may have subsided, but tea party leaders say the situation has only become worse and may lead to more lawsuits against the embattled agency.

New documents show the depth of information the IRS is seeking from Tea Party Patriots, a leading conservative group that first applied for 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status in late 2010 and one of many organizations singled out for extra scrutiny by the Obama administration...

The Culture’s War on Women
Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall” describes two neighbors who meet every spring to walk the fence dividing their properties. After a hard winter, damage has to be assessed and repaired. Perhaps, after Miley Cyrus’ controversial and crass performance at the VMA awards, it is time to assess today’s culture and seriously consider how to repair the damage to the nation’s girls and women. The objectification and exploitation of women — as seen in all its crudity in Cyrus’s performance — is a wake-up call for us all. Is that what women really want? Is that what any of us really want? But isn’t that the inevitable result of our anything-goes, sex-and-drugs saturated culture?...

Is Homeschool the Best Preparation for College? Experts Say It Strengthens Students Independence
...David Halbrook, director of communications at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Va., said that homeschooling, if done well, offers a broad foundation of knowledge, security in the faith, and greater self-assurance. He told CP that "67 percent of this year's incoming freshmen" at Patrick Henry were homeschooled – a low from five years ago, when it reached "75 to 80 percent."

The large homeschooling population did not force the school to lower its standards, however. Halbrook listed rigorous high school academics, SAT and ACT scores as prerequisites for admission. All students take a core curriculum in the classics, founding principles, and economics, in what the director called "the format of a lot of the founding fathers."

Patrick Henry students scored highest on the Inter-Collegiate Studies Institute's American Civic Literacy Test, surpassing Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, Halbrook noted.. Also, on the national Educational Testing Service Proficiency Profile, this school's students ranked first out of 261 schools. Halbrook said that Patrick Henry students who went from homeschooling to public school – for sports or extracurricular activities – often became bored and required extra studies at home to keep them interested...

Michigan State LB Chris Norman pursues seminary instead of the NFL

Dear son, don’t let Robin Thicke be a lesson to you
...A few days ago a mom blogger wrote a letter to her daughter entitled “Dear daughter, let Miley Cyrus be a lesson to you.” Well, I have a daughter, and I echo this woman’s sentiments. But I also have a son, and I don’t want the boys to get off the hook here. My little man isn’t old enough to read yet, but one day he will be, and one day I’ll give him this letter. I don’t know if he’ll get the Robin Thicke reference at that point, but the message, I suspect, will still be urgent and relevant...

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Scrolling around...August 29, 2013

Wildfire Map: NOAA's Satellites Show North America Ablaze   A new map released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) paints a stunning portrait of North America's ongoing battle against wildfires. The map, based on six months of data collected from NOAA's GOES satellites, shows a continent glowing with autumnal hues, each dot representing a wildfire picked up by one of NOAA's satellites.

But don't be alarmed if North America seems unusually ablaze. Plots on the graphic represent the lump sum of fire signatures picked up by all of NOAA's satellites, not the actual total number of fires. In layman's terms: if two satellites pick up a thermal signature for the same fire they both record a separate plot on the map. All of that plotting ads up to 323,828 dots, well above the 34,064 fires observed by the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) so far in 2013...

Pantheism in the Prayer Book
It is one of the many benefits, and indeed, one of the purposes of liturgical worship that it cannot easily be manipulated to suit some passing whim. Most liturgical traditions contain the same basic elements: the singing of the Psalms, the Lord’s Prayer, the Confessions, the Creeds, the reading of the Scriptures,  and the ancient hymns that have been passed down to us from the early church.  The order of service can be an emotional experience, but it is not driven by emotion, nor does it seek that end. The pre-ordained texts for any particular service may speak to current events, but the service cannot be altered to cater to whatever pet political issues the clergy or congregation may have on their minds. It is oriented towards another more stable world, and does not change with the tides of this one. It is what it is. The words are spoken, the truth is heard, and you may take it or leave it.

Unless, of course, one were to rewrite the entire order of service, which is exactly what the Anglican Environmental Network, an official branch of the Anglican Communion, has done. From September 1st, to October 4th, many churches in the Anglican Communion will celebrate “creation time,” described as “a time dedicated to prayer for the protection of Creation, and the promotion of sustainable lifestyles that reverse our contribution to climate change.”

Obama's Affordable Care Act Looking a Bit Unaffordable
Republicans have long blamed President Obama's signature health care initiative for increasing insurance costs, dubbing it the "Unaffordable Care Act."

Turns out, they might be right.

For the vast majority of Americans, premium prices will be higher in the individual exchange than what they're currently paying for employer-sponsored benefits, according to a National Journal analysis of new coverage and cost data. Adding even more out-of-pocket expenses to consumers' monthly insurance bills is a swell in deductibles under the Affordable Care Act...

UK:Church 'Sued' Over Gay Marriage, and BBC Cheers Polyamory  The ink is not yet dry on David Cameron's gay marriage Bill and already two stories in the news this week show that the Bill's critics have been proved right. A wealthy gay couple say they "have launched" legal action to force gay weddings on the Church of England; and the BBC is cheerleading for polyamory...

Muslim Mob Injures Church Leaders, Choir Members in Nigeria  A Muslim mob with knives and iron rods injured several members of an Anglican church in Nasarawa state on Aug. 17 over a dispute about less than 1 cent in change, area Christians said...

Theft and Sabotage Destroy Nigeria’s Oil Dreams
“Industrial scale oil theft, sabotage and technical problems” have caused output from the oil-rich Niger delta to plummet to a four-year low, the FT reports, and that’s only the beginning of the story.

Shell announced in July that thieves were stealing 60,000 barrels of oil every day—just from Shell’s lines. The Nigerian government, which gets 80 percent of its revenue from oil, lost $10.9 billion between 2009 and 2011 due to theft and sabotage. “Oil fouls everything in southern Nigeria,” Tom O’Neill reported for National Geographic back in 2007. “It spills from the pipelines, poisoning soil and water. It stains the hands of politicians and generals, who siphon off its profits. It taints the ambitions of the young, who will try anything to scoop up a share of the liquid riches—fire a gun, sabotage a pipeline, kidnap a foreigner.”

Kim Jong-un's ex-lover 'executed by firing squad'
Kim Jong-un's ex-girlfriend was among a dozen well-known North Korean performers who were executed by firing squad nine days ago, according to South Korean reports...

Iranian-American Christian Convert’s 8-Year Sentence Upheld  Iranian-American Christian convert Saeed Abedini’s eight-year prison sentence has been upheld, and his wife told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that none of the objections they made in court were taken into account.

“Iran is keeping Saeed illegally. Saeed’s problem is not political. His problem is in his choice of religion. Saeed is also a US citizen and Iran can’t keep him in prison,” Naghmeh Abedini, who is a US resident, told the Campaign...

Pastors Rally Together to Fight San Antonio’s Discrimination of Christians
“This ordinance is not about preventing discrimination. It is about promoting an intolerant agenda directed at Christians, people of faith, and those who believe that homosexuality is contrary to the natural order,” said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel. “This ordinance will punish people because of their views on human sexuality. Everyone must wake up and realize the agenda behind this ordinance before it is too late.”

California on brink of allowing non-physicians to perform abortions
...The State Senate passed AB154 by a 25-11 vote on Monday. The bill would authorize midwives, nurse practitioners, and physicians’ assistants to perform first-trimester suction aspiration abortions...

Stats Show Americans Not That into Driving Anymore
Driving in America has stalled, leading researchers to ask: Is the national love affair with the automobile over?

After rising for decades, total vehicle use in the U.S. _ the collective miles people drive _ peaked in August 2007. It then dropped sharply during the Great Recession and has largely plateaued since, even though the economy is recovering and the population growing. Just this week the Federal Highway Administration reported vehicle miles traveled during the first half of 2013 were down slightly, continuing the trend.

Even more telling, the average miles drivers individually rack up peaked in July 2004 at just over 900 per month, said a study by Transportation Department economists Don Pickrell and David Pace. By July of last year, that had fallen to 820 miles per month, down about 9 percent. Per capita automobile use is now back at the same levels as in the late 1990s...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

There is absolutely no substitute for this secret communion with God...

There is absolutely no substitute for this secret communion with God. The public Church services, or even the family altar, cannot take the place of the 'closet' prayer. We must deliberately seek to meet with God absolutely alone, and to secure such aloneness with God we are bidden to enter into thy closet.' God absolutely insists on this 'closet'-communion with Himself. One reason, no doubt, that He demands it, is to test our sincerity. There is no test for the soul like solitude. Do you shrink from solitude? Perhaps the cause for your neglect of the 'closet' is a guilty conscience? You are afraid to enter into the solitude. You know that however cheerful you appear to be you are not really happy. You surround yourself with company lest, being alone, truth should invade your delusion. ...Gordon Cove image

Scrolling around...August 28, 2013

It's Fact, Not Anecdote, That ObamaCare Is Turning Us Into A Part-Time Nation
...Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that the ratio of part-time to full-time jobs has completely flipped this year from historical trends. Last year, six full-time jobs were created for every one part time job. This year, only one full-time job is being created for every four new part-time jobs.

The shift to part-time has accelerated over the past several months because of the “look back” provision in ObamaCare that sets the baseline this year for the number of full-time workers a company employs to determine their compliance with the employer pay-or-play mandate.

The administration may have been trying to stop the damage when it announced in July it would delay for a year the reporting requirements for the health law’s employer mandate – the requirement that businesses with 50 or more employees provide health coverage that is acceptable to the government or pay a fine of $2,000 to $3,000 per employee per year...

Older people more likely to duck ObamaCare mandate, survey finds ...But the analysis reveals a predicament for older people who are uninsured but not yet eligible for Medicare.

Many in this population will have higher incomes than their younger counterparts, reducing the subsidies for which they are eligible in the new marketplaces.

This factor, combined with the already higher cost of healthcare for older patients, could result in fewer people from that group entering the new exchanges, researchers said...

Belgium: 95 Percent of Euthanasia Requests Get Rubber Stamp OK by Doctors
This data in the study found that only 5% of the 363 most recent requests for euthanasia were refused.

“Court: Christian photographers cannot refuse gay ceremonies”
The New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled that a small Christian-owned photography business does not have the right to decline on religious grounds to shoot a same-sex commitment ceremony...

Ohio College Sued for Subjecting Pro-Life Students to “Free Speech Zones”
...In June, Spencer Anderson, a Christian student at Columbus State Community College was required by college officials to get a permit 48 hours in advance to distribute fliers about his new pro-life student group. Officials assigned him to one of the two speech zones and forbade him from exiting the zone to speak with people or hand out his fliers. According to the complaint, the speech zones comprise less than 1 percent of the college’s 80 acre campus. In April, Anderson was involved in another pro-life display on campus subjected to similar restrictions...

The 'almost unremarked' tragedy of Christians persecuted in the Middle East
For 15 years Canon Andrew White has led Iraq’s only Anglican church, in an increasingly menacing period for Christians across the Middle East...

Where are protests against murders of Christians?!
Largely absent from nearly all our sources of news and commentary is deep, continuing coverage, if any, of the horrifying massacres of Christians in Egypt and especially Syria and the burning down of their churches.

The world's most prominent Christian, Pope Francis, has denounced the violence, but our media has mostly ignored him, instead giving him a justly favorable response for his concern for the poor and otherwise vulnerable...

Bp. Julian Dobbs: Open Letter to the President

August 28, 2013
The President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
As your administration determines a response to the serious and deteriorating situation in Syria, I urge you to consider the consequences for the Christian minorities across the country of any military action initiated by the United States and her allies.
Christians make up about 10% of Syria's population, yet they are particularly vulnerable and have become targets of religious cleansing by forces who are determined to establish sharia law. Islamist militant groups, including Al Qaeda, have become increasingly prominent and now control some parts of the country, endangering the Christian residents in those areas.
Already rebel forces have destroyed numerous churches, and many thousands of Christians and other minorities are displaced within Syria or have fled their homeland altogether and are now living in very difficult circumstances in refugee camps in neighboring countries.
In one of the latest incidents, at least 15 Christians were killed in a murderous attack near Ein al-Ajouz in Wadi al Nasara ("Valley of the Christians") in the early hours of Saturday August 17, 2013. Armed militants first killed soldiers at a checkpoint before going on a shooting rampage, targeting innocent Christian civilians.
Military action that results in the demise of President Assad's forces would almost certainly allow a strengthened Al Qaeda presence in Syria that would result in significant and increased persecution of Syrian Christians. This is the situation in southern Libya, where the void created by the demise of the Libyan military has emboldened Al Qaeda's operation in the region.
One of the grave consequences of military action initiated by the United States in Iraq was the destruction of the Iraqi Christian community. Over 3.5 million Iraqis were forced from their homes after the conflict. Christians, who made up only 3-4% of the population of Iraq, account for nearly a quarter of the refugee population.
What guarantees of security and religious freedom can you and your administration give to the already suffering Christian community in Syria if a military intervention is initiated by the United States? And how can you be certain that the recent history of Libya and Iraq will not repeat itself once again and cause indefensible and unpardonable suffering to Syria's vulnerable Christians and other minorities?
The United States and her allies may use the Responsibility to Protect rationale to justify military action in Syria. But they should not use this selectively, and ignore the unintended consequences of their actions on the Christian minority which, unlike other minorities in Syria, is largely defenseless. Furthermore the Christians will also be at greater risk than other minorities in the aftermath of a US strike on their country; this is because Christian minorities are perceived as allies of the West due to their Christian faith and are therefore the traditional scapegoats on which Muslim extremists vent their wrath against the West. 
The Rt. Rev'd Julian M. Dobbs, Bishop
The Missionary Diocese of CANA East

Moon rising over Onondaga Park

August 28, 2013
Last week, Raymond took this picture of the moon rising at Onondaga Park nearby...I love the reflection of the moon on the water of Hiawatha lake and the flock of birds (geese?) heading to their nightly resting spot.  
Here is a stunning hibiscus bloom from a plant on our front porch
Bee on a flower (giant blue hosta) in our side garden
Trying to get back to blogging...having some computer issues and will be getting a new laptop in the near future.  Also, last week, we helped our younger son move into a house, so that was a busy time.  -Pat Dague (click on pictures to enlarge)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A.S. Haley: The Ultimate Choice

August 21, 2013

However, as man’s abilities and awareness expanded, Satan appears to have adapted his methods to those changes, as well. He went from demonic possession of individuals (e.g., Mk 1:32-33) to control and management of entire memes and societies, e.g., via the “Enlightenment” (a misnomer if there ever was one – but that is another story).

The point here is this: God's message to man remains constant and unchanging; and Satan's objectives likewise are unchanging. What changes is man -- but only in certain superficial ways involving language and culture. Man's tendency to sin -- his fallenness -- does not change. And because that does not change, while his estimation of his progress, and control over nature, does change, then man -- to the degree he thinks himself more sophisticated than his predecessors -- is now probably more susceptible to Satan's snares than ever.

Witness -- culture is engaged in a great civil war over who shall control and direct its orthodoxy (commonly called "progress"): from the jihadists to the “enlightened” humanists and atheists (who bring with them the agenda of the secular progressives), or Christians, who bring with them their Bible, and the Word recorded in it. The clashes between these groups make a substantial part of every day's headlines – and not just in Egypt. But what is at the root of those clashes?

The message of the Word is, as I say, unchanged. Our ability to experience its singeing intensity, however, is vastly heightened – indeed, so much so that today’s atheists and humanists are so afflicted by what they perceive of the Word that they become aggravated, and positively militant, in defense of their human-based worldview. 
the rest-Excellent! image
As between God and Satan, we know that Satan loses

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Anglican Unscripted Episode 79

August 24, 2013

Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe.

Drunken or Poisoned? 00:00
How Via Media Works 10:34
Peter Ould 16:38
Egypt 26:18

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Nazit-Ali: When Egypt emerges from its bloody chaos, it needs true democracy, not a dictatorship of the majority

August 22, 2013
By Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali     

There is considerable anguish and hand-wringing amongst the armchair orientalists and strategists over the situation in Egypt. Those who thought that the "Arab Spring" was a harbinger of secular, Western-style democracy can now see it is nothing of the kind. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood-led regime was headed inexorably towards a Sunni theocracy based on an unreconstructed imposition of Wahabbi-type Sharia which had led already, for example, to the harassment of women who would not abide by Islamist diktat over dress, freedom of movement and associating with unrelated males. Then there are those who had put their money on "moderate Islamism" being the future for the Middle East and beyond. If this meant sacrificing the freedoms of women, religious minorities and others, so be it. It had happened before, had it not, with Assyrians, Armenians and Jews? They have been surprised and even angered by the sudden reversal of fortunes.

The West has a long history of backing dubious Islamist groups in the region, often at the behest of this orientalist elite. By supporting the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan, for instance, in their struggle against the Soviet-backed government there, it unwittingly created not only the Taliban but, arguably, international Islamist radicalism and terrorism. Similar stories can be told of Libya, Syria, and now Egypt.

Fifteen million people signed the petition to remove the Brotherhood from power, and many more were involved in demonstrations up and down the country. In the absence of a parliament, how else was the will of the people to be expressed? Attempts were made, again and again, to make the government more inclusive of Egyptian society, but they were always thwarted by the intransigence of Islamists, who saw their chance of turning the largest Arab state into an Islamic one. Even after the intervention by the armed forces, offers were made to include Islamist representatives in the government, but they were rejected in favour of a "purist" rather than a "realist" solution. How unsuccessful does even a democratically elected government have to be before some kind of change becomes necessary?  the rest

Monday, August 19, 2013

Scrolling around...August 19, 2013

Air Force OK with drag queens ... but with Christian faith, not so much
..."It’s almost unfathomable that you would have a branch of the United States military invite drag queens to perform on a military installation,” he tells OneNewsNow. “And then that you would have a brigadier general defend that and say look this is what the military is all about; these are the values that we want to celebrate – is beyond the pale."...

Obama math: under new Common Core, 3 x 4 = 11

On a mission to save godless Massachusetts
...ONCE UPON A TIME, Boston was a “city upon a hill.” Anyway, that’s what Governor John Winthrop told future Massachusetts residents sailing here in 1630. Evangelism practically started in this region in the 18th century, with Northampton’s Jonathan Edwards and his fiery sermons like “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Yet today only about 11 percent of New Englanders consider themselves evangelical Christians, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. That’s compared with 26 percent nationwide and more than 50 percent in Bible Belt states.

Those numbers are for evangelical Christianity, but the rate of religiosity doesn’t seem to be much higher regardless of what (if any) faith New Englanders practice. A 2012 Gallup Poll found that the five least religious states in the country, based on the percentage of self-identified “very religious” Americans living there, are all in New England. Vermont is the least religious, followed immediately by New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. At number 11, Connecticut might as well be New England’s shining beacon of faith.

It’s no wonder church planters are eyeing the region. I spoke with a pastor who is at the center of the push for new Boston area churches — Joe Souza, who works for the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board. Five years ago, Souza says, 87 percent of new churches trying to reach wayward New Englanders failed. But thanks to a bold rethinking of their top-down strategy, 95 percent of today’s new churches are succeeding. “Basically,” Souza says, sponsoring denominations are “letting the guys in the field call the shots.”...

M, F or Blank: 'Third Gender' Official in Germany from November
Germany is set to become the first country in Europe to introduce a third, "indeterminate" gender designation on birth certificates. The European Union, which is attempting to coordinate anti-discrimination efforts across member states, is lagging behind on the issue...

Attorney for Fort Hood jihad massacre victims: Obama and Army "twisted rules" to avoid admitting that Hasan is a jihadist
As the attorney for the victims of the Ft. Hood massacre, and their families, I can say unequivocally that at every turn the Administration and the Army have twisted rules, regulation and common sense into pretzels to avoid acknowledging what Hasan himself has admitted prior to the attack and now in court: that he is a committed and devout jihadist who is fighting for an enemy.

The question which needs an answer: in light of his admission why has he not been tried for treason, as was Bradley Manning? While his crimes are most serious, he's not a mass murderer...

Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood supporters torch a Christian school, parade nuns through streets as "prisoners of war"   After torching a Franciscan school, Islamists paraded three nuns on the streets like "prisoners of war" before a Muslim woman offered them refuge. Two other women working at the school were sexually harassed and abused as they fought their way through a mob.

In the four days since security forces cleared two sit-in camps by supporters of Egypt's ousted president, Islamists have attacked dozens of Coptic churches along with homes and businesses owned by the Christian minority. The campaign of intimidation appears to be a warning to Christians outside Cairo to stand down from political activism....

Nearly 40 churches have been looted and torched, while 23 others have been attacked and heavily damaged since Wednesday, when chaos erupted after Egypt's military-backed interim administration moved in to clear two camps packed with protesters calling for Morsi's reinstatement, killing scores of protesters and sparking deadly clashes nationwide...

Christians Being Slaughtered in Egypt by Radical Islamists
...There's no doubt the radical Muslims in Egypt see the current situation as a holy war. The Christian Science Monitor reported yesterday that Christian churches and homes were marked with red ink before being attacked or burned...

Only Canada, China, North Korea, and U.S. Allow Abortion After Viability for Any Reason
Carly Fiorina is making headlines for her claim on ABC that, “There are only four countries in the world that have, that legalize abortion after five months: China, North Korea, Canada and the U.S.”

This isn’t quite right. In fact, there are nine nations that permit abortion after twenty weeks: Canada, China, Great Britain, North Korea, the Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden, Vietnam, and the United States.
But Fiorina was still right to group the U.S. with China, North Korea, and Canada...

DC Planned Parenthood awarded $375K to promote Obamacare

Fraud: More People Selling Food Stamps for Cash
...A database of 200 million Electronic Benefit Transfer records from January 2011 to July 2012, obtained by The Post through a Freedom of Information request, showed welfare recipients using their EBT cards to make dozens of cash withdrawals at ATMs inside Hank’s Saloon in Brooklyn; the Blue Door Video porn shop in the East Village; The Anchor, a sleek SoHo lounge; the Patriot Saloon in TriBeCa; and Drinks Galore, a liquor distributor in The Bronx...

Chicago Tribune: Time to Delay and Rewrite the ‘Clumsy Monstrosity’ That is ObamaCare
We doubt Obama will even listen to his hometown newspaper because he’s above criticism. Besides, he’ll just sic his attack dogs on them, so they should probably be expecting the IRS goon squads to be descending upon them today...

South Carolina clergy deposed

by George Conger
August 19, 2013

The Episcopal Church in South Carolina has announced it will depose over 100 clergy loyal to the Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence and the breakaway Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.  On 10 July 2013 the faction loyal to the national Episcopal Church published a list of clergy whom it said remained in good standing with the Episcopal Church for having expressed its loyalty to their leadership. Those who had not given their allegiance to the minority faction would be removed from the ordained ministry.

Last month a “Notice of Restriction” was mailed by the Rt. Rev. Charles vonRosenberg, Provisional Bishop of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina to the bishops of the national church and the clergy pension fund saying those who had backed Mark Lawrence were “found to have abandoned The Episcopal Church.”

The letter followed a 21 June 2013 vote by the standing committee of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina to depose the clergy. While political considerations will likely give force to the decision in most dioceses, the entity known as the Episcopal Church in South Carolina has no legal meaning under the canon law of the Episcopal Church. Other members of the Anglican Communion, including the Church of England, have not recognized past depositions of clergy by the American Church for abandoning the Episcopal Church, and the move has yet to be tested in the civil courts in conjunction with the church’s pension fund. the rest

Scapegoating James Tengatenga
Dartmouth College President Philip J. Hanlon’s decision to nix the appointment of Bishop James Tengatenga as dean for moral and spiritual life has sparked spirited commentary from left and right  — and some solid reporting. An article in the Boston Globe entitled “Words on gays cost bishop post at Dartmouth” is a well sourced, balanced story that succinctly summarizes the issues at play...

Friday, August 16, 2013

New nova discovered shining in the night sky: How to see it

August 16, 2013

This week an amateur Japanese astronomer discovered a new nova shining in the night sky, and experts say it is getting brighter by the hour.

If you are familiar with the constellations and can read a star map, you can try to find it for yourself.
The newly discovered nova is just north of the constellation Delphinus. As of Friday afternoon, it was a magnitude 4.4, which means it is just on the edge of vision in a somewhat light-polluted suburb, said Alan MacRobert, a senior editor at Sky & Telescope magazine.

If you'd like to find it, you can check out the star map at the rest

YouTube video August 15, 2013

A.S. Haley: California Abandons Rule of Law to Suit Gays

August 15, 2013

The case of Perry v. Brown (formerly Perry v. Schwarzenegger), about which I wrote at length here (and in further posts linked at this page), was a case of collusion to produce a desired outcome, namely, the disenfranchisement of the voters of California who passed Proposition 8 -- in favor of a tiny minority of gay-rights activists, and their left-wing supporters.

Nevertheless, it was just the decision of a single federal district court, in San Francisco. Since both California's elected governor and attorney general refused to appeal it, the Prop. 8 supporters hired attorneys to prosecute the appeal, only to have it thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court because the supporters lacked federal standing. Dismissal of the appeal meant that Judge Walker's original decision and injunction -- directed only at certain named individuals, and protecting only two gay couples -- would become final. the rest

Church of England in 'fracking land-grab'

The Church of England has begun legal action to claim ancient mineral rights beneath thousands of homes and farms, prompting fears the church could seek to cash in on fracking.
By James Kirkup
Aug 2013

Residents across England have started receiving letters from the Land Registry, informing them that the Church is seeking to register the mineral rights to the earth beneath their property.

Lawyers believe that the Church’s claim could allow it to profit from fracking, the controversial method of extracting oil and cash by fracturing underground rocks with water and chemicals.

Responding to residents’ worries, the Church insisted that it has “no particular plans to mine under any property” but failed to rule out allowing fracking on its property. the rest

Scrolling around...August 16, 2013

BBC to air kids’ show on ‘gay marriage’
...The show has been re-named for the edition, and will be called Marrying Dad and Dad instead of Marrying Mum and Dad...

Christian churches warned of Boy Scout legal risks
...The policy change has legal ramifications for religious chartering groups, potentially exposing them to lawsuits if they continue to sponsor troops while seeking to maintain the traditional Christian teaching that homosexual behavior is immoral.

What could happen is “somebody would come and say, ‘We want to use your church for a same-sex wedding ceremony,’ and the church would say, ‘Wait, we have a religious belief against that,’” said Erik Stanley, an alliance lawyer and Eagle Scout...

New Bishop, Old Problems: First Female Presiding Bishop Unlikely to Stem Lutheran Denomination Decline
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) elected Elizabeth Eaton, ELCA’s bishop for the Northeastern Ohio Synod, as the denomination’s first female presiding bishop on August 14, 2013.  Despite Eaton’s professed desire to unite Lutherans divided over contentious issues such as homosexuality, however, analysis and evidence indicate that her historic election has little chance of altering the “liberal-leaning” ELCA’s ongoing woes....

Appeals for prayer for Egypt
...Archbishop Mouneer Anis said St Saviour's Anglican Church in Suez was "under heavy attack" from Morsi supporters who threw stones and molotov cocktails at the church and destroyed the car of the Reverend Ehab Ayoub, the priest-in-charge of St Saviour's Church.

"I am also aware that there are attacks on other Orthodox churches in Menyia and Suhag in Upper Egypt, as well as a Catholic church in Suez. Some police stations are also under attack in different parts of Egypt. Please pray and ask others to pray for this inflammable situation in Egypt," Archbishop Anis said.

He added: "Please pray that the situation will calm down, for wisdom and tact for the police and the army, for the safety of all churches and congregations, and that all in Egypt would be safe."...

Calls for Obama to freeze Egypt’s military aid come from left, right

What do Muslim Brotherhood members do when Egyptian Security Forces launch a forewarned operation to clear them from Cairo tent cities?
Attack Christians. That's right.

'Horrible': Christian churches across Egypt stormed, torched
...Egypt will have much to deal with if, and when, things do settle down. Once that happens, Angaelos says that a proper investigation of the church attacks should follow -- especially since, he feels, the sheer scale of incidents suggests they were orchestrated, rather than a byproduct of chaotic unrest...

List of churches in Egypt destroyed by the Muslim Brotherhood

Islamists Raid Ancient Monastery in Egypt, Pledge to Turn it Into a Mosque
...Bishop Aghabious of Deir Mawas has sent a call to national and international authorities to request help to save what is remaining of the monastery, which dates back to the fifth century AD.

The bishop said the militants looted most of the valuables and announced they would be converting the monastery into a mosque for Friday prayers...

Egyptian Christians Targeted by Islamists
...Some called it "Black Wednesday," the day when Muslim Brotherhood mobs stormed, looted and burned churches and Christian organizations throughout Egypt...

This Coexist Poster is Much Better

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

If the Lord be with us...

If the Lord be with us, we have no cause of fear. His eye is upon us, His arm over us, His ear open to our prayer-His grace sufficient, His promises unchangeable. ...John Newton image

Scrolling around...August 14, 2013

Imprisoned Pastor's Torture-Related Internal Injuries Growing Worse
The Iranian family of American pastor Saeed Abedini was once again able to visit him in Evin Prison in Iran. Despite previous threats from Iranian authorities that they would cut off Pastor Saeed’s visitation privileges, he was able to spend some brief time with his family on Monday.

Unfortunately, we have learned that Pastor Saeed’s internal injuries are causing him increased pain. He has been suffering from internal bleeding—the result of intense beatings he has sustained in prison for his faith...

German Companies To Automatically Encrypt Emails
 Two of Germany's biggest Internet service providers said Friday they will start encrypting customers' emails by default in response to user concerns about online snooping after reports that the U.S. National Security Agency monitors international electronic communications...

China: A new type of anti-abortion activist emerges
SLIGHTLY built and soft-spoken, Wang Lin hardly seems the typical activist. Nor is his cause a typical one in China: abortion, brutally used over 30 years to enforce China’s strict one-child policy. On August 2nd officials announced they would “propose plans to improve” the policy, another hint that they intend to scrap it eventually.

But Mr Wang’s objections are not to the coercion; he opposes abortion itself. His stance would be familiar to Americans, but it is rare in China. Many Chinese oppose the family-planning policy, he says, but as to whether abortion is ethical or not, “most Chinese do not give it a thought”... -The Economist

16-year-old girl became infertile from Gardasil vaccine: British Medical Journal
The British Medical Journal (BMJ) Case Reports journal has reported that a healthy 16-year-old Australian girl lost all ovarian function and went into menopause after being injected with the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil.

Dr. Deirdre Little, the Australian physician who treated the girl, provides solid evidence that Gardasil caused the destruction of the girl's fertility...

Military chaplains weathering ‘front wave’ of culture shift
...Recent months have brought challenges on many fronts as chaplains face navigating their ministry in light of the military's repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the U.S. Supreme Court's abolishment of the Defense of Marriage Act and other religious freedom issues facing chaplains and members of the military.

The decisions and changes mean chaplains might be asked to perform marriages for same-sex couples as well as counseling, marriage retreats and funerals. There are also concerns about whether military chaplains will be able to quote certain Scripture passages without facing disciplinary action for offending homosexuals.

"Those of you serving in the military are at the front wave of what we are eventually going to be facing all over this country," Moore told the chaplains. "You are going to be dealing with some things that every community in the United States will be dealing with in a few short years."...

IRS probing thousands of small businesses, raises eyebrows in Congress
...“We want to reassure the relatively small number of business owners who receive these letters that the IRS is requesting information based on what the taxpayer reported on the return,” officials wrote in a statement sent to On Small Business, adding that the agency is “giving taxpayers the opportunity to explain and fix errors.”

Still, some lawmakers are taking issue with the tone of the letters and their apparent implication.

“This gives the impression that the IRS is looking for more than just additional information,” House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) wrote in a letter to the agency officials, noting that the first line states “your gross receipts may have been underreported,” which he says “implies that this is a serious matter that could lead to assessments of additional tax, penalties and interest.”...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Man of Sorrows, Lamb of God

Man of sorrows, Lamb of God
By His own betrayed
The sin of man and wrath of God
Has been on Jesus laid
Silent as He stood accused
Beaten mocked and scorned
Bowing to the Father's will
He wore a crown of thorns

Oh that rugged cross my salvation
Where Your love poured out over me
Now my soul cries out Hallelujah
Praise and honour unto Thee
Sent of heaven God's own Son
To purchase and redeem
And reconcile the very ones
Who nailed Him to that tree
Now my debt is paid
It is paid in full
By the precious blood
That my Jesus spilled
Now the curse of sin
Has no hold on me
Whom the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
See the stone is rolled away
Behold the empty tomb
Hallelujah God be praised
He's risen from the grave

Scrolling around...August 13, 2013

Are You Needed in Your Church?
...My husband and I started attending our church nearly eight years ago. We were there just a few months before people were volunteering us to serve in various areas. We found ourselves part of a newly formed “Greeting Ministry,” I was working in the nursery, we were teaching kids on Wednesday nights. It was a little overwhelming. We didn’t know how to say “no,” so we “served” begrudgingly. Truth be told, we were both pastor’s kids and were unsure how to be normal church members.

It was easy to think, “Well I’m not sure this is my gifting. Maybe I should find something that uses my talents and abilities better.”

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to use our gifts to serve our church family. But then again, who would say they have the spiritual gift of changing diapers? Holding doors open? Setting up chairs?

Thankfully the Lord revealed to me the selfishness of my heart. I wasn’t serving anyone, really. I was performing needed tasks, but my heart was not in it. Even still it’s easy to slip back into this. It’s the mentality that thinks my service on the Sundays in which I sing with the worship team are more valuable that those in which I am a substitute teacher in the preschool department...

Mystery Priest Who Showed Up at a Crash Scene Then Vanished Has Been Identified
The mystery priest who recently showed up at a crash site, anointed a victim and then vanished has been identified — and he came forward by posting his identity in the comments section of a Catholic news site. The story began on Aug. 4, after Aaron Smith, 26, struck Katie Lentz, 19, in a head-on car crash. In the days that followed, the tale of a faith leader who disappeared went viral.
But now the individual, who brought calm upon the situation and who rescue workers have been hoping to find and thank, has been found. A press release provided to TheBlaze from the Diocese of Jefferson County confirmed that the Rev. Patrick Dowling, one of the priests who works with the diocese, is the individual whom they have been seeking...

Benghazi Was About 400 Surface-to-Air-Missiles Stolen by 'Some Very Ugly People,'
Former U.S. Attorney Joe DiGenova, who now represents one of the Benghazi whistleblowers, told a Washington radio station Monday that the real scandal in Benghazi is the theft of 400 surface-to-air missiles by some "very ugly people." The Obama administration fears those missiles will be used to shoot down an airplane or blow up one of our embassies, he said.

Speaking to WMAL on Monday morning, DiGenova blasted President Obama for revealing, at his Friday news conference, the existence of a sealed indictment against a Benghazi suspect or suspects.

‘Abortion Doula’ Professor Posts Video, But Catholic College Defends Employment
A professor at The College at Mount St. Vincent in New York recorded a video blog detailing her work as an “abortion doula.”

In 2011, The Cardinal Newman Society first reported on the scandal of Bianca Laureano teaching a course titled "SOC OF HUMAN SEXUALITY" for the Catholic college while volunteering as an “abortion doula.”...

Skateboarding Friars

The maniacal mind of Mark Steyn
...I had the opportunity of interviewing Steyn a couple years back when I did freelance work for The Jewish Independent. Steyn was coming into town to speak at the Hillel gala, and a few of us were going to have lunch with him a day or so prior to the event. As I asked him questions for my Independent article, I decided to throw in a question about abortion, just out of curiosity.

“Why does anyone think Europe needs huge numbers of Muslim immigrants?” Steyn replied, “Supposedly to keep their welfare state in business, because they are the children that Europeans couldn’t be bothered to have themselves. One third of German women are childless. If you just take your average, dopey Western feminist at a university campus in North America today, and she’s concerned about patriarchy, [she thinks that by] forming a pro-life club you’re forcing your backwards, patriarchal views on her. If she thinks you’re the big, stern, dominating patriarch, she ought to wait twenty or thirty years in the average Canadian city. She’ll be figuring out what the people in Amsterdam and Brussels and Malmo and Paris are beginning to figure out right now—that there’s a whole, far more motivated breed of patriarch that’s going to be walking around those cities. That’s what the dopey, clap-trapped, cobwebbed 1960’s feminist doesn’t get—that abortion is an indulgence and the indulgence only works for a generation or two before a bunch of other people take over and rebuild the future you weren’t interested in building for yourselves.”

And suddenly, abortion is put in context. It’s not simply killing—although it certainly is that. It’s cultural suicide. It’s emblematic of the bloody, narcissistic tailspin of the West at twilight. It is, as Mark Steyn refers to it elsewhere, Big Government’s back alley...