Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A.S. Haley: What Will the Supreme Court Do with The Falls Church Case?

February 25, 2014

The docket sheet in the United States Supreme Court tells the tale. After receiving an extension of time, The Falls Church filed on October 9 in the Supreme Court its petition for writ of certiorari (or review) of the decision rendered by the Virginia Supreme Court last April 18 (and its denial of a rehearing on June 14).

The ever-cocky Episcopal Church (USA) and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, following its lead, declined to file responses to the petition.  Four amici curiae (“friends of the court”, being organizations interested in the case) filed briefs in support of The Falls Church: ACNA, the Presbyterian Lay Committee, St. James Anglican Church in Newport Beach, CA, and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. The case went to conference last December just on those briefs. And—lo and behold!—the Court ordered ECUSA and its Diocese to file a response before it ruled on the petition.

Such a request is noteworthy, because the Court’s Rules explain that the Court ordinarily does not grant a pending petition without first calling for a response to it.  Had the Court taken no interest in the petition, on the other hand, it could have denied the petition outright at its December 6 conference. the rest

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The road to true intimacy with God...

The road to true intimacy with God is an inward journey, proceeding into His Presence through the entrance gate of quietness of the soul. It is a narrow track that lies well off the beaten path, virtually unseen and ignored by the vast majority of humanity careening headlong through life. ...Jim Goll image

The Silent Was On Religious Liberty; Obama's attack on Medicare; Your Neo-Pagan Neighbor and the Gospel...more

Jindal: The silent war on religious liberty
...Today the American people, whether they know it or not, are mired in a silent war. It threatens the fabric of our communities, the health of our public square, and the endurance of our constitutional governance. It is a war against the propositions in the Declaration of Independence. It is a war against the spirit that motivated abolitionism. It is a war against the faith that motivated the Civil Rights struggle. It is a war against the soul of countless acts of charity. It is a war against the conscience that drives social change. It is a war against the heart that binds our neighborhoods together. It is a war against America’s best self, at America’s best moments. It is a war — a silent war — against religious liberty. This war is waged in our courts and in the halls of political power. It is pursued with grim and relentless determination by a group of like-minded elites, determined to transform the country from a land sustained by faith — into a land where faith is silenced, privatized, and circumscribed. Their vision of America is not the vision of the Founding. It’s not even the vision of ten years ago. It’s a vision in which an individual’s devotion to Almighty God is accorded as much respect as a casual hobby — and with about as many rights and protections...

Obama’s ‘attack’ on Medicare Part D
The Obama administration is launching an “attack” on the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D programs as part of Obamacare that will result in higher costs and fewer health care options for seniors, according to a U.S. House subcommittee.

The administration is quietly introducing “policies that would undermine the integrity and success of the Medicare Part D program” according to the subcommittee. President Bush signed Medicare Part D into law in 2003 to subsidize prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries...

Your Neo-Pagan Neighbor and the Gospel
...And this is why an abortive culture is so necessary in a neo-pagan culture. If we glorify sex and pursue it without reference to virtue, teleology, or eventual care for others, then we will of necessity need to find a way to dispose of the unwanted fruit of sex (children). Because we have fetishized and become hypnotized by the sensation, we must dispose of the offspring that sex normally creates...

Russians Changing Attitudes on Church Attendance, Religious Beliefs
...Surveys from the Pew Research Center’s Religion and Public Life Project indicate more of Russia’s population has affiliated with Orthodox Christianity. According to an analysis of information gathered between 1991 and 2008, the number of Russian adults who call themselves Orthodox Christian rose from 31 percent to 72 percent. This data was gathered from the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP). The organization of social scientists in around 50 countries did research that indicated the share of Russia’s population that does not identify with any religion dropped from 61 percent to 18 percent. The ISSP says other religions (Islam, Protestant Christianity and Roman Catholicism) did show an increase in adults, but then plateaued...

Ukraine Names Interim President After Removing Yanukovich; Protesters Hail Victory

Saturday, February 22, 2014

We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God...

File:Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 033.jpg
We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God, who will thwart our plans and frustrate our ways time and again, even daily, by sending people across our path with their demands and requests. We can, then, pass them by, preoccupied with our important daily tasks, just as the priest—perhaps reading the Bible—passed by the man who had fallen among robbers. When we do that, we pass by the visible sign of the Cross raised in our lives to show us that God’s way, and not our own, is what counts. ...Dietrich Bonhoeffer image

Ice-covered Great Lakes seen from space

 By Megan Gannon
February 21, 2014

A deep freeze has settled in over the Great Lakes this winter and a new image released by NASA shows the astonishing extent of the ice cover as seen from space.

NASA's Aqua satellite captured this image of the lakes on the early afternoon of Feb. 19, 2014. At the time, 80.3 percent of the five lakes were covered in ice, according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL), part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Earlier this month, ice cover over the Great Lakes hit 88 percent for the first time since 1994. Typically at its peak, the average ice cover is just over 50 percent, and it only occasionally passes 80 percent, according to NASA's Earth Observatory. the rest

“I thought the Affordable Care Act would save $2500 per family. What happened?”

Something Incredible Happens When a Citizen Asks Minnesota Democrats This Very Simple Obamacare Question
...The question: “I thought the Affordable Care Act would save $2500 per family. What happened?”...

Voters beware: Don't Mend, Just End ObamaCare
Vulnerable Democrats think they've found a winning strategy for the November elections: Tell voters they can fix ObamaCare, but Republicans won't let them. It's a con. ObamaCare is unfixable...

ObamaCare tax cost 33,000 jobs, medical trade group says
A new ObamaCare tax on medical devices has already resulted in the loss of about 33,000 jobs in the industry, according to a prominent health-care trade association.

The grim statistic negates claims this week by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that “there is absolutely no evidence . . . that there is any job loss related to the ­Affordable Care Act.”...

A.S. Haley: The Church of Identity Is No Church at All

Friday, February 21, 2014

Consider the following Canon of the Episcopal Church (USA), Canon I.17.5:
No one shall be denied rights, status or access to an equal place in the life, worship, and governance of this Church because of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disabilities or age, except as otherwise specified by Canons.
(There is a similar Canon applying to the discernment process for would-be clergy.) The words "sexual orientation" and "gender identity and expression" are the most recent additions to the list of grounds upon which Episcopalians are called not to discriminate. As this Canon's predecessor stood from its adoption in 1964 (at the height of the civil rights movement) until 1982, it read:
Every communicant or baptized member of this Church shall be entitled to equal rights and status in any Parish or Mission thereof. He shall not be excluded from the worship or Sacraments of the Church, nor from parochial membership, because of race, color, or ethnic origin.
With only slight rewording in 1982, the threefold grounds of "race, color, or ethnic origin" remained untouched until General Convention 1994, when the categories were expanded by one Resolution (1994-C020) to include "national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, disabilities or age." Most recently Resolution 2012-D002 added the categories "gender identity and expression."... the rest

Friday, February 21, 2014

When you go to prayer...

When you go to prayer, your first thought must be: The Father is in secret, the Father waits me there. Just because your heart is cold and prayerless, get you into the presence of the loving Father. As a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth you. Do not be thinking of how little you have to bring God, but of how much He wants to give you. Just place yourself before Him, and look up into His face; think of His love, His wonderful, tender, pitying love. Tell Him how sinful and cold and dark all is; it is the Father's loving heart will give light and warmth to yours.
...Andrew Murray image

The Christian Leader in the Digital Age; Terrorist Training Compound Discovered in Rural Texas; Jesus Should Be “In The Center of Our Huddle...More

Albert Mohler: The Christian Leader in the Digital Age
The Digital Age is upon us. In the span of less than three decades, we have redefined the way humans communicate, entertain, inform, research, create, and connect – and what we know now is only a hint of what is to come. But the greatest concern of the church is not a technological imperative, but a Gospel imperative.

The digital world did not exist a generation ago, and now it is a fundamental fact of life. The world spawned by the personal computer, the Internet, social media, and the smart phone now constitutes the greatest arena of public discussion and debate the world has ever known.

Leaders who talk about the real world as opposed to the digital world are making a mistake, a category error. While we are right to prioritize real face-to-face conversations and to find comfort and grounding in stable authorities like the printed book, the digital world is itself a real world, just real in a different way...

Kidnappers Target Christian Children in Egypt
...According to Daniels, 69 Christian kidnappings were documented last year in the Minya province. In 61 cases, kidnappers got a ransom in exchange for releasing their victims. Ransom demands have ranged from $7,000 to $500,000...

FBI Docs: Alleged Terrorist Training Compound Discovered in Rural Texas
The Clarion Project has unearthed Federal Bureau of Investigations documents detailing a 22-site network of terrorist training villages sprawled across the United States. According to the documents, the FBI has been concerned about these facilities for about 12 years, but cannot act against them because the U.S. State Department has not yet declared that their umbrella group, MOA/Jamaat ul-Fuqra, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

MOA stands for Muslims of the Americas, which is linked to radical Pakistani Muslim cleric Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani. The FBI documents that Clarion has obtained show that the group is headquartered in the well known “Islamberg” compound in rural New York. The facility in Texas is known as “Mahmoudberg.” It’s located in Brazoria county on County Road 3 near Sweeny. Sweeny is in far south Texas, southwest of Houston. The town of about 4,000 is a little under three hours’ drive from the state capital in Austin...

UConn Football Coach Resigns After Saying Jesus Should Be “In The Center of Our Huddle
A newly hired assistant football coach has resigned his position at the University of Connecticut one month after igniting controversy with a comment he made about keeping Jesus Christ at the center of his team’s huddle...

Ticks Carrying Lyme-Like, Mystery Bacteria Found In Bay Area Parks
A newly-discovered mystery bacteria with unknown health effects is being carried by ticks and found in Bay Area parks, according to a Stanford University study.

The bacteria, Borrelia miyamotoi, has been found on ticks also carrying the bacteria which causes Lyme disease, B. burgdorferi, researchers said in a study to be published in the March issue of the journal Emerging Infectious Disease.

While only two percent of the samples were infected, ticks carrying one or both pathogens were found in nearly every one of 12 recreational areas along the Peninsula they looked at, according to the researchers...

Statement from the Global South Primates Steering Committee, Cairo, Egypt

20 February 2014 

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:3).

1. The Global South Primates Steering Committee met at All Saints Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt from 14-15 February 2014. We were delighted to have The Most Rev. & Rt. Hon. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi, the Chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA), and Canon David Porter, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Director for Reconciliation, as guests joining this important meeting in which we discussed the way ahead for the Anglican Communion and other matters. The Most Rev. Dr. Eliud Wabukala, the Primate of Kenya, and The Most Rev. Henri Isingoma, the Primate of Congo, apologized for not being able to attend.

2. We thank God for the times of fellowship, Bible study and prayer together. We also appreciated the frank discussion, open sharing, and spirit of unity among us. We are also encouraged by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s emphases on renewal, mission and evangelism within the Church of England and the rest of the Anglican Communion.

3. As we reviewed the current situation, we recognized that the fabric of the Communion was torn at its deepest level as a result of the actions taken by The Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church in Canada since 2003. As a result, our Anglican Communion is currently suffering from broken relations, a lack of trust, and dysfunctional “instruments of unity.”

4. However, we trust in God’s promise that the “gates of hades will not overcome” the church. Holding unto this promise, we believe that we have to make every effort in order to restore our beloved Communion. Therefore we took the following decisions:

a) We request and will support the Archbishop of Canterbury to call for a Primates Meeting in 2015 in order to address the increasingly deteriorating situation facing the Anglican Communion. It is important that the  agenda of this Primates Meeting be discussed and agreed upon by the Primates beforehand in order to ensure an effective meeting.

b) We decided to establish a Primatial Oversight Council, in following-through the recommendations taken at Dromantine in 2005 and Dar es Salam in 2007, to provide pastoral and primatial oversight to dissenting individuals, parishes, and dioceses in order to keep them within the Communion.

c) We realize that the time has come to address the ecclesial deficit, the mutual accountability and re-shaping the instruments of unity by following through the recommendations mentioned in the Windsor Report (2004), the Primates Meetings in Dromantine (2005) and Dar es Salam (2007), and the Windsor Continuation Group report.

5. We appreciate the costly decision of the House of Bishops of the Church of England, as well as the pastoral letter and pastoral guidance of The Archbishop of Canterbury and The Archbishop of York, in regard to the decision of the Westminster Parliament for same-gender marriage. The faithfulness of the Church of England in this regard is a great encouragement to our Provinces, and indeed the rest of the Communion, especially those facing hardships and wars.

6. We stand in solidarity with The Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng Bul and the people of South Sudan and Sudan, calling for the cessation of fighting, an end to violence, and for a process for peace and reconciliation. We call upon the international community to give every help and support to those displaced as a result of fighting. We commit ourselves to pray for the people of Sudan.

7. We were encouraged to learn about the new constitution of Egypt and how the interim government is achieving the roadmap that was decided by its people on the 3 July 2013. We support the people of Egypt in their efforts to combat violence and terrorism.

8. We decided to activate the Task Forces established at the 4th Encounter of the Global South, which are: Economic Empowerment (coordinated by Archbishop Eliud Wabukala), Theological Resourcing (coordinated by Archbishop Bolly Lapok), Emerging Servant Leaders (coordinated by Archbishop Ian Ernest), and Inter-faith Relations (coordinated by Archbishop Nicholas Okoh).

9. We decided to hold the 5th Encounter of the Global South in 2015 and also organize a seminar for Global South leaders on “How Africa shaped Anglicanism”.

This statement is approved by:
The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Anis, Bishop of Egypt and Chairman of Global South
The Most Rev. Ian Ernest, Primate of the Indian Ocean and General Secretary of Global South The Most Rev. Stephen Than Myint Oo, Primate of Myanmar
The Most Rev. Hector “Tito” Zavala, Primate of the Southern Cone
The Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi, Primate of Burundi and the Chairman of CAPA
The Rt. Rev. John Chew, representing the Primate of South East Asia
The Rt. Rev. Francis Loyo, representing the Primate of All Sudan

This statement was abstained by:
The Most Rev. Nkechi Nwosu, representing the Primate of All Nigeria
14-15 February 2014

Overseas Anglican Archbishops applaud Welby on gay marriage, but urge action on America
The Archbishop of Canterbury has met with overseas archbishops seeking ways to save the Anglican Communion from further schism and collapse. Meeting at All Saints Cathedral in Cairo the Global South leaders applauded last week’s reaffirmation of Christian marriage and the sinfulness of homosexual activities made by the House of Bishops of the Church of England, whilst also warning the Most Rev. Justin Welby they would be willing to take the lead in reforming the global Anglican Communion if he were not able to do so.

 On 14 February 2014 Archbishop Welby and the Rev. Canon David Porter, his Director for Reconciliation, met with the Steering Committee of the Global South Primates led by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, the Most Rev. Mouneer Anis. the rest

Bishop Iker Resigns in Protest From Nashotah House Board

Matt Kennedy
February 20, 2014

The following memo has been received by a number of clergy in the Diocese of Fort Worth and we have confirmed that the memo is genuine and the content is accurate:
“BISHOP IKER HAS RESIGNED AS A TRUSTEE on the Nashotah House Board, where he has served for the past 21 years. This action was taken in protest of the Dean’s invitation to the Presiding Bishop of TEC to be a guest preacher in the seminary’s chapel. Citing the lawsuits initiated by her against this Diocese, Bishop Iker notified the Board that he “could not be associated with an institution that honors her.” Similarly, Bishop Wantland has sent notification that he “will not take part in any functions at Nashotah” nor continue “to give financial support to the House as long as the present administration remains.” He is an honorary member of the Board (without vote) and a life member of the Alumni Association.” the rest

Robert S. Munday: If I had it to do all over again
...In my last year as Dean and the year following, a majority of the student body at Nashotah House came from ACNA dioceses.  The downturn we were experiencing was a temporary one as the ACNA found its legs and began to take off.  The House could have weathered this period and emerged as a seminary that, while continuing to train any students from TEC who wanted an orthodox seminary education, was free from TEC's unwholesome influence.  As proof of this one only has to look at Trinity School for Ministry, which took Episcopal out of its name and the Episcopal shield out of its logo.  In  recent years, Trinity has had no students from TEC in their incoming classes.  Yet, they have not only survived, they are thriving.

My experience at both Trinity and Nashotah House has led me to conclude:

1.  You can be an Anglican seminary outside the control of the Episcopal Church and still survive.
2.  You cannot be a seminary in the Episcopal Church and remain orthodox....

Seminary Invitation to Episcopal Presiding Bishop Sparks Uproar

Monday, February 17, 2014

Nigeria: Over 1,000 Anglican Church Leaders Meet on the State of the Nation

Anglican Primate visits Borno, prays for come back of peace
17 Feb 2014
By Ademola Babalola

About 1,000 delegates from the 178 Dioceses of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) will today storm Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, to deliberate on the progress of the church and much more importantly, review the state of the nation.

The church, which is worried over the state of the nation’s economy and high level corruption in the country, would from today embark on a week-long conference to address the issues, with a view to proffering an enduring solution to the endemic situation.

The 1,000-member standing committee of the church, led by its Primate, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, according to Anglican Bishop of Ibadan Diocese, Most Reverend Joseph Akinfenwa, who addressed journalists in Ibadan to herald the meeting, reeled out a tale of woes of the nation as regards the national polity but concluded that with divine intervention, the forthcoming 2015 general election would be a success story.

While disabusing the minds of Nigerians on the fears over the prediction that the country would break up in 2015, Akinfenwa said: “God is able to overrule that prediction. We trust in God and we have been praying ceaselessly for His divine intervention.”... the rest  image

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Anglican Church in Meltdown

February 15, 2014
By Fr. Dwight Longenecker

In 1992 I was an Anglican country vicar on the Isle of Wight. The Church of England was debating the question of women’s ordination. After due consideration I had come down on the side of those opposed to this innovation.

As we discussed the matter in my parish council it emerged that most of my people were on the other side. They either had no objection or they were positively in favor of women’s ordination. I said at that time, “You are debating this question now. Ten years from now you will be debating whether homosexual people may get married or not.”

My suggestion was met with incredulity, shock and dismay. “The two issues are not connected!” they cried. “We would never consent to something like that! Why the whole idea is preposterous!” I was wrong. It took twenty years, not ten. The Anglicans had to take time off from the progressive agenda to get women bishops first.

Now that women are lined up for the pointy hat, the progressives are rolling up their sleeves for the next battle: full acceptance of same sex marriage. My father in law once joked that he had no objection to same sex marriage as long as they didn’t make it mandatory. We laughed. It will soon be mandatory. Of course they will not make anyone marry someone of the same sex, but they’ll make you approve and conduct those marriages in church.

Earlier this week Archbishop Justin Welby prepped his team for the next big game. The lights are on, the stadium is packed and the coin is about to be tossed. Time for the great Anglican same sex marriage debate to begin. Be prepared for all the usual game tactics: sob stories from all those who are “wounded”, “deeply concerned” and “saddened” by how homophobic and backward the Church of England is. Those who uphold Christian marriage will be cast as medieval puritanical funamentalists while the progressives are up to date, compassionate and open minded smart people.

Progressive bishops (are there any other kind?) will go through the motions of due process with the General Synod while they are making back room deals with the activists. Oodles of time and money will be spent conducting ‘indabas’ — Zulu sort of pow wows where everyone is supposed to go in frowning and come out crying and hugging one another... the rest image

Church of England gay lobby "appalled" by bishops' gay marriage ban

Bishop Jefferts Schori to give annual C.S. Lewis Legacy Lecture        

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Anglican Unscripted Episode 92

Feb 15, 2014
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.

Story Index

00:00 Breaking News from the Church on England!
15:10 Peter Ould on the mess in England
30:05 AS Haley on the cost of sin and Suing
47:05 Kevin and George teach romance classes
52:21 Closing and Bloopers

Homosexuality to remain a sin for the Church of England

House of Bishops Pastoral Guidance on Same-Sex Marriage

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A.S. Haley: Episcopal Church (USA) Annual Litigation Summary 2014

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

It is a fact well known to certain Episcopalians—both those who have left the Episcopal Church (USA) and those who have remained—that ECUSA and its dioceses have followed a pattern of suing any church that chooses to leave for another Anglican jurisdiction. But the full extent of the litigation that has ensued is not well known at all, either in the wider Church, or among the provinces of the Anglican Communion.

Your Curmudgeon proposes to do what he can to rectify this situation, by publishing an annual update on this site of the current status of all past and present cases in which ECUSA or any of its dioceses has been or is involved, from 2000 to date. Feel free to link to this post, to email links to it to other Episcopalians, and to send it to your Bishop -- and feel free to post any updates or corrections in the comments. In another update to be posted in the next few days, I will published a revised total for all of the money spent by ECUSA and its Dioceses to date on prosecuting all of these lawsuits (and, in the case of the second group below, defending them).

The lawsuits initiated by ECUSA and its dioceses to date are first listed below, followed by a list of the seven cases begun by a diocese or parish against the Episcopal Church (or a diocese). The listing endeavors to be as complete as I can make it. The first 83 cases, generally grouped by the State in which they each originated, are the legal actions filed since 2000 (of which I am aware) where the Episcopal Church (USA) and/or one of its dioceses played the role of plaintiff—the party who initiates a case in court by filing a complaint to seize the assets and real property of any church choosing to leave ECUSA. Please note that wherever possible the actual citation of any published decision in the case has been given. Also, please note the dates for the later cases, which demonstrate the acceleration of litigation by ECUSA and its dioceses in defiant rejection of the Primates’ call for a moratorium on litigation at the Dar es Salaam meeting...  the rest

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

"Breeders"- film on surrogate pregnancy; IRS continues to target conservatives; Mohler on missions...more

Rethinking the Contraceptive Mandate
...The moral of the story should be clear. It is not possible to deviate in part from the classical liberal principles of freedom of association and hope that the resulting confusion will be ironed out down the road. The key defect in the central premise leads to indefensible distinctions and to second-best solutions, all of which should be rejected out of hand. In this context, religious liberty is lost by the imposition of an employer mandate. The entire mandate should be struck down root and branch.

The Plight of Christians in Pakistan
...Over the past years, persons of smaller religious minorities have been targeted by killing them through improvised bombs, setting their localities/villages on fire, target killing, framing in blasphemy cases, intimidation, forced marriages, forced conversions etc. the list can go on expanding. Even the lawyers, persons and NGO's who proceed on behalf of the victims are targeted, manhandled and persecuted...

Central VA congregation worships nude
Pastor Allen Parker says it's not about the clothes, or lack thereof. He says it's about baring his soul to Christ and leading his flock down that path of righteousness, no matter what they're wearing.

Breeders: Surrogacy and the Commodification of Human Life  ...Some women who want children but can’t have any are today embracing new medical technologies to fill the void in their lives. But increasingly, as an important new film tells us, many couples are going too far.

The film is entitled “Breeders,” and it was produced by the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. In it, Jennifer Lahl, who wrote and directed the film, gives viewers an unsentimental, behind-the-scenes view of surrogate pregnancy.

In a surrogate pregnancy, a couple that cannot have children on their own pays a woman to carry their child to term.

Promoters of surrogacy tout the practice as a “win-win”: infertile couples get the child they’ve always wanted and the surrogate gets money she needs.

But as Lahl’s film shows us, surrogacy has it losers as well... Metaxas

Aging America heading for disaster
To really understand what’s going on with the American economy, don’t look at the headlines. Don’t look at the unemployment rate or the trade balance or the deficit. Don’t even look at what’s happening today at all: Look at what happened 46 years ago.

And what happened then? Fewer Americas were being born, points out Harry S. Dent Jr. in “The Demographic Cliff: How to Survive and Prosper During the Great Deflation of 2014-2019” (Portfolio)...

IRS Targets Conservative Groups, Again
The Internal Revenue Service caused an uproar last year when they targeted Tea Party groups. Now it seems they're doing it again.

Quietly over Thanksgiving, the IRS announced new rules that critics say would allow the agency to continue its tough targeting of Tea Party and other conservative groups.
The rules appear aimed at silencing conservative organizations before the next crucial elections...

Poof: A Scandal Disappears: The press has decided that the IRS’s targeting of conservatives is not newsworthy

Albert Mohler: Christian Missions in the Third Millennium
...Today, the Christian church faces new challenges. Without exaggeration, we can point to the twenty-first century as a new era in Christian missions, and recognize it as a vast new opportunity.

Looking at Christian missions today, we may be seeing the birth of a new missiological movement. This new era in missions will build upon the accomplishments of the last 200 years, but it must also be adapted to the new realities of our world context.

The most important dimension of any vision for world missions is a passion to glorify God. From beginning to end, the Bible declares that God is glorifying Himself in the salvation of sinners, and that He desires to be worshipped among all the peoples of the earth. The impulse of the missionary conviction is drawn from the assurance that God saves sinners, and that He is glorifying Himself by creating a new people through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, we have the glad opportunity to glorify God by declaring the Gospel to all the peoples of the earth...

Hobby Lobby to Supreme Court: Protect Us From $1.3M in Fines a Day Over Obamacare
Hobby Lobby, the family-owned arts and crafts business that has been the most high-profile plaintiff against Obamacare, asked the U.S. Supreme Court today to protect it from being forced to violate their deeply held religious beliefs or be forced to pay severe fines.

The brief filed today at the Supreme Court is in preparation for oral arguments on March 25, 2014 before the nation’s highest court.

The written brief filed today at the Supreme Court, calls a federal mandate to provide objectionable drugs and devices “one of the most straightforward violations … this Court is likely to see” of a 1993 law preserving the free exercise of faith...

Obama’s Uncle: My Father Was Muslim, My Mother Was Muslim, My WHOLE FAMILY Is Muslim
Obama: 'I Can Do Whatever I Want'
The comment came around the time the White House announced it would be delaying the Obamacare mandate for some businesses unilaterally.

Shirley Temple Black 1928-2014

By Aljean Harmetz
February 11, 2014

Shirley Temple Black, who as a dimpled, precocious and determined little girl in the 1930s sang and tap-danced her way to a height of Hollywood stardom and worldwide fame that no other child has reached, died on Monday night at her home in Woodside, Calif. She was 85.

Her publicist, Cheryl Kagan, confirmed her death.

Ms. Black returned to the spotlight in the 1960s in the surprising new role of diplomat, but in the popular imagination she would always be America’s darling of the Depression years, when in 23 motion pictures her sparkling personality and sunny optimism lifted spirits and made her famous. From 1935 to 1939 she was the most popular movie star in America, with Clark Gable a distant second. She received more mail than Greta Garbo and was photographed more often than President Franklin D. Roosevelt... the rest

NPR: Shirley Temple Dies; Childhood Movie Star Became Diplomat

BBC: Hollywood star Shirley Temple dies

Shirley Temple - At the Codfish Ball (1936)
(That's Buddy Ebsen of Beverly Hillbillies fame dancing with her)

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Anglican Unscripted Episode 91

Feb 8, 2014
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.

Story Index

00:00 The New Oxford Movement
15:44 Elephant Politics
21:42 AS Haley on South Carolina
31:00 The perfect answer for Immigration
39:35 Closing and Bloopers

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Mohler on the Ham-Nye Debate; Congregational Prayer; Obamacare vs. Jobs...more

New York City public school kids getting new Muslim, Lunar New Year holidays
Mayor de Blasio said Monday that he’d move forward with closing schools for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, two Muslim holy days, and for Lunar New Year. But he was hesitant regarding Hindu festival Diwali...

Bill Nye’s Reasonable Man—The Central Worldview Clash of the Ham-Nye Debate
...In this light, the debate proved both sides right on one central point: If you agreed with Bill Nye you would agree with his reading of the evidence. The same was equally true for those who entered the room agreeing with Ken Ham; they would agree with his interpretation of the evidence.

That’s because the argument was never really about ice rods and sediment layers. It was about the most basic of all intellectual presuppositions: How do we know anything at all? On what basis do we grant intellectual authority? Is the universe self-contained and self-explanatory? Is there a Creator, and can we know him?

On those questions, Ham and Nye were separated by infinite intellectual space. They shared the stage, but they do not live in the same intellectual world. Nye is truly committed to a materialistic and naturalistic worldview. Ham is an evangelical Christian committed to the authority of the Bible. The clash of ultimate worldview questions was vividly displayed for all to see...

CALL TO PRAYER: Guided congregational prayer
When I became pastor of my second church, I was the youngest pastor the church had ever called to the role. Several older deacons told me that for more than 40 years the church had experienced undercurrents of conflict, most often between the pastor and the deacons or between the pastor and a staff member. We began to strategize ways to bring the congregation together.

We established the following nine priorities that were placed on each week's mid-week prayer memo, a practice we followed for more than 20 years. I share them in hopes they will trigger ideas for use in your church as well...

NBC: All Visitors to Sochi Olympics Immediately Hacked
..."As tourists and families of athletes arrive in Sochi, if they haven't been warned, and if they fire up their phones at baggage claim, it's probably too late to save the integrity of their electronics and everything inside them. Visitors to Russia can expect to be hacked. And as Richard Engel found out upon his arrival there, it's not a matter of if, but when," reports NBC's Brian Williams.

Engel says, "The State Department warns that travelers should have no expectation of privacy. Even in their hotel rooms. And as we found out, you are especially exposed as soon as you try and communicate with anything."...

Health-care law will prompt over 2 million to quit jobs or cut hours, a CBO report says
More than 2 million Americans who would otherwise rely on a job for health insurance will quit working, reduce their hours or stop looking for employment because of new health benefits available under the Affordable Care Act, congressional budget analysts said Tuesday.

The findings from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office revived a fierce debate about the impact President Obama’s signature health-care program will have on the U.S. economy...

California: Obamacare Turning Cancer Patients Away
The Los Angeles Times reports that once Obamacare customers navigate the confusing websites and pay the (often higher) premiums, they face a new problem: many doctors do not accept Obamacare insurance policies. It tells the story of a cancer patient who was turned away at the oncologist's office, and was only seen by a doctor once state regulators came to her rescue. Her story is not alone: millions will face the same problem...

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Common Core Promoter 'Children Belong to All of Us,'; Christians attacked in Nigeria; Mohler on the 'New American Religion'....more

The most and least religious states in the US

Albert Mohler: The New American Religion: The Rise of Sports and the Decline of the Church
...The relationship between sports and religion in America has always been close, and it has often been awkward. The “muscular Christianity” of a century ago has given way to a more recent phenomenon: the massive growth of involvement in sports at the expense of church activities and involvements. About fifteen years ago, the late John Cardinal O’Connor, then the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, lamented the fact that Little League Baseball was taking his altar boys away on Sundays.

“Why is it religion that must always accommodate?” asked the Archbishop. “Why must Little League and soccer league games be scheduled on Sunday mornings? Why create that conflict for kids or for their parents? Sports are generally considered good for kids. Church is good for kids.”

The Archbishop blamed secularization for this invasion of Sunday: “This is the constant erosion, the constant secularization of our culture, that I strongly believe to be a serious mistake.”

So the cardinal took on Little League and the youth soccer league in New York City. And he lost. Nevertheless, he was right about the problem. The massive rise of sports within the culture is a sign and symptom of the secularization of the larger society...

‘Duck Dynasty’ Publishes Church Curriculum Based on Show Themes
The Robertsons of A&E’s Duck Dynasty are wading into churches with their new curriculum, Faith Commander: Living Five Values From the Parables of Jesus, reports Charisma News. The five-week course will include a book and DVD with Robertson family stories and will focus on five themes in the parables of Jesus: faith, forgiveness, obedience, prayer and kindness...

The Most Damaging Attitude in Our Churches
It was an attitude I learned in Church, and I used to believe it was a strength.

I thought I was simply a critical thinker, full of constructive insights. My husband and I shared a “gift for reflection” and spun many conversations around what we considered to be compelling observations about what the Church and other people were doing wrong and what they could do better. Never mind the fact that our tips were not actually being presented to those we believed would benefit from them. At least we saw the problems, right?

But with time, the satisfaction of hearing ourselves talk began to fade and a nauseating feeling settled in its place. No matter how positive a light we tried to cast it in, we were filling up on bitterness and tasting the result.

Subtly, without even realizing it, we had become cynics. And the toxic effect could be felt in our marriage, our relationships and our ability to communicate Christ’s love for the world...

Christians flee attacks in Nigeria’s northeast
YOLA, Nigeria — Before the usher could finish warning worshippers of the gunmen approaching, the attackers were storming into the church, locking the main door, exploding homemade bombs and firing into the congregation.

The shooting continued as some people scrambled to escape out of windows and through the back door of the sacristy.

Some had their throats slit in last Sunday’s attack on St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church in Wada Chakawa village in northeast Nigeria...

Going On 30, Living With Mom And Dad
...Some notable data on 26(ish)-year-olds in the U.S.: Thirteen percent "reported they were neither working for pay nor taking postsecondary courses." Of those who had enrolled in college, 60.2 percent reported they had taken out student loans. Forty percent had been unemployed for one or more months since January 2009; 20.6 percent owned/paid mortgage on their current residence. Money was a source of anxiety, which is understandable since 53.8 percent made less than $25,000 from employment in 2011...

'Children Belong to All of Us,' Common Core Promoter Says
"The children belong to all of us," Paul Reville, an education professor at Harvard and former Massachusetts secretary of Education, said Friday in explaining why states should adopt the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

"What we're doing at the national level ... is what a lot of our states thought made sense individually. Why should some towns in cities or states have no standards or low standards and others have extremely high standards when the children belong to all of us and would move. And the same logic applies to the nation," he said, making the case for national standards.

His comment regarding children is similar to a controversial statement by MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry in April. In an ad for MSNBC, she said, "We have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities."...

Anglican Unscripted Episode 90

Feb 3, 2014
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.

Story Index
00:00 Noodle Wars 06:50 Bishops of Jersey Shore15:00 AS Haley the Weatherman20:13 Anglican Coattails to Canterbury28:40 Closing and Bloopers

Monday, February 03, 2014

Who Owns the Children; Military Chaplains Speak Up; Back to (Divinity) School...more

Searches resume in Indonesia after Mount Sinabung eruptions kill 15
Search and recovery teams on Monday resumed their perilous task of looking for victims from the recent volcanic eruptions of Indonesia's Mount Sinabung.

The death toll currently stands at 15 after plumes of ash spewed more than a mile into the sky Saturday and descended in superheated clouds.

Scalding ash up to 700 degrees in temperature raced down the slope in just two to three minutes, engulfing Sukameriah, a village close to the volcano's crater...

Liberalism’s Biggest Lie: If You Like Your Morality, You Can Keep Your Morality
The unchecked progress of sexual liberalism means that we cannot say what kind of moral culture our children will inhabit as adults or, accordingly, what kind of moral culture will form our grandchildren. No responsible person can support such a movement.

Back to (Divinity) School
Seminaries report an enrollment surge among the middle-aged eager to start a second career...Students under 30 still make up the largest age cohort in seminaries, according to the Association of Theological Schools. But older students are growing in representation among 74,000 or so students pursuing a seminary degree from an institution associated with the agency that accredits graduate schools of theology. The percentage of students over 50 enrolled in a seminary rose to about 21% in 2011 from 12% in 1995. The percentage of students under 30 has hovered at around 30% during the same period...

Military Chaplains Speak Up on Marriage and Homosexuality in the Military

Abortion rate drops to lowest level since Roe
That’s the good news, but the question is why. The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute released its findings last week, showing that the abortion rate has dropped 13% since 2008, and is now only slightly higher than it was after the Supreme Court declared abortion to be a doctor‘s right...

Nancy Pelosi to receive Margaret Sanger Award from Planned Parenthood  I'm sure she deserves it.

Who Owns the Children? 
...Attorney Michael Farris founded the HSDLA, which is also helping the Romeike family, says: “The Obama administration is basically saying there is no right to home school anywhere.”

In reference to German restrictions of homeschooling, Farris adds: “That means they don’t want to have significant numbers of people who think differently than what the government thinks….It’s an incredibly dangerous assertion that people can’t think in a way that the government doesn’t approve of.”

Who made home-schooling illegal in Germany? “Der Fuhrer” in 1938. But the law is still on the books and is still being enforced...

Joni Eareckson Tada’s Song 'Alone Yet Not Alone' Disqualified from Oscars  ...According to Variety, the decision was prompted by the discovery that songwriter Bruce Broughton had emailed members of the branch to make them aware of his submission during the nominations voting period...

Amazon Publishing Introduces Christian Imprint
Online superstore Amazon will sell Christian books under a new imprint, Waterfall Press, NPR reports. Although Amazon got its start selling books, it has been getting into the publishing business as well, with imprints for genres like science fiction, romance, mystery, and now, Christian books.

In an interview with NPR, Win Bassett, writer and seminarian at the Yale Divinity School, says that Christian publishing is a $1.4 billion market, with many major publishing companies having Christian imprints...

Jan 18, 2014

Leading up to the Seattle Seahawks 2014 playoff run, Pastor Mark Driscoll sat down with a few of the players and one of the coaches to talk about their faith in Jesus Christ and how it intersects with life on and off the football field.

In this video (part one in a forthcoming series), Russell Okung, Chris Maragos, coach Rocky Seto, and Russell Wilson answer the question: "Who is Jesus?"

Anglicanism Alive and Well

Brian Miller
February 3, 2014

Anglicans have never been very showy people. There was once that G.K. Chesterton fellow, but he eventually moved on. Not that Anglicans don’t talk about their faith or excel in their given fields. If it weren’t for Anglicans, Anglo-American culture as we know it simply would not exist. However, it remains a curious fact that most famous Anglicans are not necessarily famous for being Anglicans. Edmund Burke, and even the theologian Richard Hooker, are remembered as great political thinkers. John Donne, Samuel Johnson, W.H. Auden, T.S. Eliot, and countless others are remembered as poets. Even great Anglicans who are remembered primarily for their Christian works are hardly ever remembered as Anglicans per se. The Wesley brothers and George Whitfield are remembered as evangelicals. C.S. Lewis, depending on which circles you run in (and I run in both), is either a great evangelical or an almost Catholic. Similarly, it is often taken for granted that the works of men like John Henry Newman and G.K. Chesterton are all “Catholic Works” when the reality is decades of their writings were produced while they remained members of the Church of England.

It sometimes seems that Anglicans, at least in America, are like something out of a fairy-tale. We read about them occasionally, but when pressed we would have a hard time saying who they are and what exactly they have done for Christianity. It doesn’t help matters that much ink has been spilled, including by myself, about the demise of the Church and its never ending controversies. But this is really only half the picture. Conservative Anglicans are ever present, and influentially so, in our current public discourse. the rest

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Faith is not a pathetic sentiment...

 Faith is not a pathetic sentiment, but robust vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy love. You cannot see Him just now, you cannot understand what He is doing, but you know Him. Shipwreck occurs where there is not that mental poise which comes from being established on the eternal truth that God is holy love. Faith is the heroic effort of your life, you fling yourself in reckless confidence on God.

God has ventured all in Jesus Christ to save us, now He wants us to venture our all in abandoned confidence in Him. There are spots where that faith has not worked in us as yet, places untouched by the life of God. There were none of those spots in Jesus Christ’s life, and there are to be none in ours. "This is life eternal, that they might know Thee." The real meaning of eternal life is a life that can face anything it has to face without wavering. If we take this view, life becomes one great romance, a glorious opportunity for seeing marvellous things all the time. God is disciplining us to get us into this central place of power. ...Oswald Chambers image

Canon Phil Ashey: The Bishops Have Spoken

Posted February 1, 2014

The Bishops of the Church of England have spoken.  In response to the Pilling Report recommendation that clergy and Parochial Church Councils (PCC’s) may “publicly mark” a civil partnership within the church, the bishops wrote:
“We accept the recommendation of the Pilling Report that the subject of sexuality, with its history of deeply entrenched views, would best be addressed by facilitated conversations, ecumenically, across the Anglican Communion and at national and diocesan level and that this should continue to involve profound reflection on the interpretation and application of Scripture. These conversations should set the discussion of sexuality within the wider context of human flourishing…”
The bishops also stated:
“…we are clear that the Church of England’s pastoral and liturgical practice remains unchanged during this process of facilitated conversation.

“No change to the Church of England’s teaching on marriage is proposed or envisaged. The House of Bishops will be meeting next month to consider its approach when same sex marriage becomes lawful in England in March…”
Does this mean that there won’t be any blessings of gay couples in the Church of England? Does this represent the bishops decisively rejecting these unbiblical innovations (pending facilitated conversations)?  In all likelihood, no.   I’m reminded of the saying, “those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Remember,  the leadership of The Episcopal Church here in North America made exactly the same commitment with regards to the “official” teaching on marriage while at the same time permitting such blessings to take place–unofficially–in increasing numbers until there was no turning back. Traditional bishops in the Church of England ought to consider this and ask themselves:  is there any reason whatsoever that the same will not happen in the Church of England? the rest here

Uganda archbishop responds to Welby on anti-gay laws
The head of the Anglican Church in Uganda has given a critical response to a letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York warning that gays and lesbians should not be victimized...

ACNA catechism unveiled
The Anglican Church in North America is pleased to announce the release of To Be a Christian: An Anglican Catechism produced by the provincial Catechesis Task force.
Led by the Rev. Dr J.I. Packer, the Task Force has developed a unique and powerful resource for helping inquirers come to an understanding of the Christian faith, and for helping disciples deepen their relationship with God.  Written in a “Question and Answer” format, this Catechism, in the words of Packer, “is designed as a resource manual for the renewal of Anglican catechetical practice. It presents the essential building blocks of classic catechetical instruction: the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Ten Commandments (the Decalogue). To these is added an initial section especially intended for those with no prior knowledge of the Gospel; as such, this catechism attempts to be a missional means by which God may bring about both conversion to Christ and formation in Christ.”...

To Be a Christian: An Anglican Catechism