Monday, March 31, 2014

Do not run impetuously before the Lord...

Do not run impetuously before the Lord; learn to wait His time: the minute-hand as well as the hour-hand must point the exact moment for action. ...Mrs. Charles E. Cowman image

Around the web...March 31, 2014

Should The Church Pander to Millennials?
This week and beyond, Millennials on IRD’s staff will be addressing this issue in their own blogs as part of a series. They merit hearing. Here’s the first one, from Brian Miller, himself a law student. Look forward to more from others!

SYMPOSIUM: What Does Liberal Christianity Offer Millennials?
This is Part 1 in an IRD Symposium on Millennials in the Church
...Orthodoxy and traditional teachings on sex are not turning young people away from the Church. The frequently cited statistics about liberal congregations in decline and conservative denominations on the rise are, I think, over relied upon. Especially in light of statistics that show all denominations are on a decline overall. However, that conservative denominations have weathered the storm better than their liberal counterparts cannot be discounted. Being an Anglo-Catholic in the Washington D.C. area I find myself in a variety of churches. The Roman Catholic young adult ministries are full of devout and conservative millennials, and most of the events are standing room only. In the evangelical Anglican Churches, the congregations are overwhelmingly young, perhaps too young. My own Church is composed mostly of young families. But whenever I sneak into the notoriously liberal Episcopal Churches for Evensong or daily mass, I find I am the youngest attendee by approximately thirty-years...

Surprised by N.T. Wright
People who are asked to write about N. T. Wright may find they quickly run out of superlatives. He is the most prolific biblical scholar in a generation. Some say he is the most important apologist for the Christian faith since C. S. Lewis. He has written the most extensive series of popular commentaries on the New Testament since William Barclay. And, in case three careers sound like too few, he is also a church leader, having served as Bishop of Durham, England, before his current teaching post at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

But perhaps the most significant praise of all: When Wright speaks, preaches, or writes, folks say they see Jesus, and lives are transformed. A pastor friend of mine describes a church member walking into his office, hands trembling as he held a copy of Wright's Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church. "If this book is true," he said, "then my whole life has to change."
The superlatives are striking, considering Wright's goal in his teaching and writing is to massively revise the way Christianity has been articulated for generations...
Street preacher accepts £13,000 compensation after wrongful arrest
...John Craven was preaching in Manchester city centre in September 2011 when he was approached by two homosexual teenagers who asked him what he thought about gays.

Craven says that when he explained the Bible's stance on homosexuality, the two teenagers responded by kissing each other and making sexually suggestive acts.

When they complained to a police officer that they had found Mr Craven's comments insulting, he was arrested by Police Constable Alistair McKittrick for a public order offence and was detained for over 19 hours.

He was arrested under section 4A of the Public Order Act 1986, which criminalises the use of insulting words with the intention of causing harassment, alarm or distress.

While the police claim it was necessary to arrest him in order to conduct "a prompt and effective investigation" into the complaint, Mr Craven said this was not conveyed to him at the time.

The Christian Institute, which provided him with legal assistance, said he went nearly 15 hours without access to food, water or his medication for rheumatoid arthritis...

Albert Mohler: Drowning in Distortion—Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah”

March 31, 2014

In Noah, the existence of humanity is a blight upon the earth. Rather than suggesting that humans had misused and abused the dominion mandate of Genesis 1:28, human dominion is depicted as the fundamental problem. This leads to a horrifying anti-humanism in the movie that cannot be rescued by the (finally) rather hopeful conclusion, with Noah and his family depicted as placidly agrarian and vegetarian, restarting human civilization on a placid hillside. The covenant God made with Noah in Genesis 9 explicitly gives humanity animal flesh to eat, and the dominion and stewardship granted to humanity in Genesis 1:28 and re-set in Genesis 9:1-17 is a function of human beings made in God’s image. Image-bearing assigns dominion. The real question is what we will do with that dominion.

Aronofsky introduces Noah as a kind and caring family man, but his divine assignment turns the movie’s Noah into a sociopathic monster. At this point the movie veers into a radical distortion of the biblical account. Noah is now depicted as a madman ready to murder his own grandchildren in order to end humanity and rid creation of the human threat. This kind of distortion of the story is what led Christopher Orr of The Atlantic to refer to Aronofsky as “more Old Testament than the Old Testament itself.” The Old Testament, we might say, is Old Testament enough, on its own.

This not only misses the point of the Genesis narrative, it corrupts it. Aronofsky is telling a truly fascinating story in these segments of the film, but it is not the story of Noah as found in the Bible. Totally missing from the movie is the understanding that God is simultaneously judging and saving, ready to make a covenant with Noah that will turn the biblical narrative toward Abraham and the founding of Israel. God is spoken of in the movie, but he does not speak. He is identified only as “The Creator,” and he appears to be driven by an essentially ecological fervor. The entire context of covenant is completely absent.   the rest

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Former Syracuse Catholic church to become Islamic mosque

Holy Trinity Church, Syracuse, NY
To be called 'Mosque of Jesus the Son of Mary'

SYRACUSE -- Syracuse's Holy Trinity has a new owner, and some major changes are coming for the former Roman Catholic church.

As we first reported on Monday, the church, rectory and its old school, currently used for refugee and immigration programs, have been sold to the North Side Learning Center,  a North McBride Street-based all-volunteer organization founded in 2009.

 Dr. Yusuf Soule, who heads up North Side Learning Center, confirms that his not for profit program has bought the campus and will lease the former church to a new Islamic society, which will name it 'Mosque of Jesus the Son of Mary' (Masjit Isa Ibn Maryam).  The group is already working in the sanctuary, which Soule says has leaks in the walls and flooring after being vacant almost four years.   Pews and benches, as well as the Christian symbols inside, have already been removed.

North Side Learning has filed with the Landmark Preservation Board  to remove the crosses from the steeples and grounds.  The reason, in the petitions,  "Due to new usage of the church as a place of worship for other religious group than used previously, where crosses on the building are not in line with the worshipping practices."

The petition also requests permission to to put a 6-foot chain link fence around the property 'to increase security.' Soule says the group's current offices on North McBride at Butternut have seen several car break ins, and there are concerns. the rest image

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

World Vision Reverses Decision To Hire Christians in Same-Sex Marriages

Letter: 'We failed to be consistent with World Vision U.S.’s commitment to the traditional understanding of Biblical marriage and our own Statement of Faith'.

the rest at Christianity Today

A.S. Haley: ECUSA’s 815 in Transparent Move to Punish Fort Worth

March 25, 2014

Your Curmudgeon has just received reliable word that ECUSA and its attorneys intend to ask the United States Supreme Court to review the (interlocutory!) decision by the Supreme Court of Texas in Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth v. Episcopal Church (USA), in which the Texas Court recently denied ECUSA’s petition for a rehearing. The decision is called “interlocutory” because it is not a final one—the case still has to go to trial before Judge Chupp in Tarrant County District Court.

The U.S. Supreme Court, as a rule, accepts review of interlocutory decisions only in cases of extreme emergency, where further proceedings in the lower court could wipe out a party’s chances ever to take a future appeal from the final decision, when it is eventually entered. (Recall that the Court denied the petition for review (“certiorari”) filed by St. James parish, in Newport Beach, following the interlocutory decision by the California Supreme Court in The Episcopal Church Cases —which returned those cases for trial, just as in Texas.)

Moreover, we have seen SCOTUS now deny review of no less than three already final decisions in recent church property cases: from the courts in Connecticut, Georgia and Virginia. So not only are the odds of the Court’s granting review of the Texas interlocutory decision virtually zero, but even if the decision were final, the odds would still be vanishingly small.

To waste ECUSA’s resources on such a petition to SCOTUS (which I estimate will cost ECUSA approximately fifteen to twenty-five thousand dollars), therefore, is a vain act which can be motivated only by another goal. And what could that other goal be? Why, of course—to keep up the financial and administrative pressure on Bishop Iker and the parishes of his Episcopal Diocese for as long as conceivably possible... the rest  Comments at Stand Firm

Mar 26, 2014
Kevin Kallsen and AS Haley discuss TEC taking Ft Worth before the Supremes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Albert Mohler: Pointing to Disaster—The Flawed Moral Vision of World Vision

March 25, 2014

Like all revolutions, moral revolutions are marked by events that signal major turning points in social transformation. Yesterday, March 24, 2014, will be remembered as one of those days. The headline in the news story by Christianity Today made the issue easy enough to understand — “World Vision: Why We’re Hiring Gay Christians in Same-Sex Marriages.”

As the magazine reported, “World Vision’s American branch will no longer require its more than 1,100 employees to restrict their sexual activity to marriage between one man and one woman.”

World Vision U.S. President Richard Stearns announced the change in a letter to World Vision staff. The organization, one of the largest humanitarian organizations in the world, “will continue to expect abstinence before marriage and fidelity within marriage for all staff,” Stearns said. He then added that “since World Vision is a multi-denominational organization that welcomes employees from more than 50 denominations, and since a number of these denominations in recent years have sanctioned same-sex marriage for Christians, the board—in keeping with our practice of deferring to church authority in the lives of our staff, and desiring to treat all of our employees equally—chose to adjust our policy.” That led to the key change Stearns was then to announce: “Thus, the board has modified our Employee Standards of Conduct to allow a Christian in a legal same-sex marriage to be employed at World Vision.”

Stearns went on to state that he wanted “to be clear that we have not endorsed same-sex marriage, but we have chosen to defer to the authority of local churches on this issue.” the rest
The policy shift points back to a basic problem with World Vision’s understanding of the church. No organization can serve on behalf of churches across the vast theological and moral spectrum that would include clearly evangelical denominations, on the one hand, and liberal denominations such as the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Episcopal Church, and the United Church of Christ, on the other. That might work if World Vision were selling church furniture, but not when the mission of the organization claims a biblical mandate.

Monday, March 24, 2014

As one of His redeemed ones...

As one of His redeemed ones, you are His delight, and all His desire is to you, with the longing of a love which is stronger than death, and which many waters cannot quench. His heart yearns after you, seeking your fellowship and your love. Were it needed, He could die again to possess you... His life is bound up in yours; you are to Him inexpressibly more indispensable and precious than you ever can know. ...Andrew Murray
 (I took this picture at the Tel Dan Nature reserve in northern Israel-PD)

Around the web...March 24, 2014

Embedded image permalink
Thirty-two hurt in train derailment at Chicago's O'Hare airport Thirty-two people were injured after a Chicago Transit Authority train derailed and hit a platform at O'Hare International Airport early on Monday, with its front car landing on an escalator and stairs, a city fire official said...  image

‘God’s Not Dead’ Makes Millions, Surprises Box Office

How a Pro-Life Doctor Overcomes Abortion With Truth
...After completing his residency in 1999, Dr. Lile began looking for a practice. As it turned out, a practice near Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola was available – Bo Bagenholm’s practice, complete with a second-floor surgical abortion facility. At the time, the practice was the third-largest provider of abortions by volume in Escambia County.

Dr. Lile and his partner arranged to purchase the practice, including all of the equipment and retention of the staff. The purchase included a no-compete agreement that forbade Bagenholm from practicing medicine within the tri-county area around Pensacola for two years.

On the first day under the new ownership, Dr. Lile and his partner announced to their employees, who had previously been involved in the practice’s abortion services, that not only would they no longer provide abortion, but referral of women to other abortion businesses would be grounds for termination. On that day, a 20-year legacy of death in the building was ended...

When Dissent is Equated with Violence
...The professor’s actions are indefensible outside various left-wing lunatic asylums, but her principle of equating peaceful dissent with violence is not some sort of personal eccentricity. Though it eventually backed down, Stanford University tried to force the Anscombe Society to pay for ten security guards at a conference on the grounds that some students claimed that they felt “threatened” by the mere presence of a group that believes that sex should only occur within marriage understood as the union of one man and one woman. You don’t have to agree with any of the Anscombe Society’s beliefs to recognize both the bad faith of Stanford University and the attempt to incrementally criminalize peaceful political dissent. Stanford’s position was that mere vocalized dissent constitutes an implied violent threat and that the favored political activists who are hostile to the dissenters must be “protected” by force from the presence of an ideologically unfashionable minority...

Sharia law in UK: calls for Parliamentary inquiry
Calls for a Parliamentary inquiry into the scale of Islamic law in the UK are mounting after the body representing solicitors in England and Wales issued formal guidance on making “Sharia compliant” wills.

The Law Society was accused of giving its stamp of approval to discriminatory practices after it published advice on writing wills which deny women an equal share and exclude “illegitimate” children or unbelievers.
The society denied promoting Sharia and insisted that it was simply responding to demand.
But MPs said the publication would be a “wake-up call” for those who support women’s equality. ..

Reinstate lesbian teachers caught having sex in classroom, court orders school  A five-panel appellate court has ruled that having sex in a public school classroom is no reason to lose your job.

Justices with the Manhattan Appellate Division have ordered James Madison High School to reinstate two lesbian teachers whom they fired after a janitor found them having sex inside a classroom during a school event...

Wisconsin Governor Refuses Atheist Demands to Remove Scripture from Social Media Pages
The governor of Wisconsin is refusing the demands of a prominent atheist activist organization to remove a Scripture citation from his Twitter and Facebook pages.

As previously reported, the Madison-based Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter to Walker this past week after becoming aware that he had simply posted “Philippians 4:13″ as his status on his social media accounts last Sunday. The Scripture reads, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

“This braggadocio verse coming from a public official is rather disturbing,” FFRF wrote in the letter. “To say, ‘I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me,’ seems more like a threat, or the utterance of a theocratic dictator, than of a duly elected civil servant.”...

Aborted babies incinerated to heat UK hospitals
The bodies of thousands of aborted and miscarried babies were incinerated as clinical waste, with some even used to heat hospitals, an investigation has found.

Ten NHS trusts have admitted burning foetal remains alongside other rubbish while two others used the bodies in ‘waste-to-energy’ plants which generate power for heat.

Last night the Department of Health issued an instant ban on the practice which health minister Dr Dan Poulter branded ‘totally unacceptable.’...

Dear Future Mom...

You can’t separate the reporters from the activists from the Obama administration officials from the billionaire cronies  ...Let me offer an alternative explanation of why the Washington Post published their Keystone/Koch smear: 1) The Washington Post in general, and Mufson and Eilperin in particular, are agents of the Left, the environmental movement and the Democratic Party. 2) The Keystone Pipeline is a problem for the Democratic Party because 60% of voters want the pipeline built, while the party’s left-wing base insists that it not be approved. 3) The Keystone Pipeline is popular because it would broadly benefit the American people by creating large numbers of jobs, making gasoline more plentiful and bringing down the cost of energy. 4) Therefore, the Democratic Party tries to distract from the real issues surrounding the pipeline by claiming, falsely, that its proponents are merely tools of the billionaire Koch brothers–who, in fact, have nothing to do with Keystone one way or the other. 5) The Post published its article to assist the Democratic Party with its anti-Keystone talking points...

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A.S Haley: Courts in SC and TX Show 815 Which Way the Wind Blows

Saturday, March 22, 2014

In recent appellate decisions, the courts in both South Carolina and Texas have pointed to a decisive judicial rejection of the Dennis-Canon-based litigation strategy of the powers at 815 Second Avenue in New York, headquarters of what I (still) call ECUSA. If they ever choose to reassess that strategy (as the Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker urged them to do, after his recent win against 815 in the Texas Supreme Court), in light of the fiduciary standards to which they ought to be held accountable, now would be a very good time.

In South Carolina recently (see this earlier post for background), the Court of Appeals mooted the Diocese’s motion for transfer to the Supreme Court by entering an order dismissing 815’s appeal outright. This was a correct decision because, as I had pointed out in the post just linked, 815 and its puppet ECSC were trying to appeal from a discovery order, which is not a final order. The Court of Appeals, citing just one case, agreed and ordered the matter back to Judge Goodstein’s court for trial, which is scheduled to go forward this July: the rest

Saturday, March 22, 2014

“If anyone would come after me..."

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? -Mark 8:34-36 image

Come and let us consider together what it means to follow Jesus.
Join us for worship this Sunday at 10:30 am!

Church of the Holy Trinity
Biblical + Liturgical + Spirit-Filled

The chapel at the Slavic Full Gospel Church
3528 E Genesee Street, Syracuse, NY 13214

Anglican Unscripted Episode 95

March  21, 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.

00:00 The Pope a year in review
10:00 Global South adopts Diocese of South Carolina
18:10 ABC Canterbury year in review with Peter Ould
29:11 Why would anybody bring charges against Saint Schori?
38:14 R.I.P Terry Fullam
45:57 Closing and Bloopers

Friday, March 21, 2014

Love ever gives...

Love ever gives, forgives, outlives,
And ever stands with open hands.
And while it lives it gives.
For this is love's prerogative,
To give, and give, and give.
...John Oxenham image

Around the web....March 21, 2014

New, Critical Conversation Brewing on Birth-Control Usage in the U.S
...According to pro-life activist and registered nurse Jill Stanek, the Merck lawsuit is just the latest evidence about the harmful effects of contraception usage.

“In 2005, the World Health Organization classified the morning-after pill as a Class 1 carcinogen — as dangerous as cigarette smoke and asbestos,” Stanek said. “With all of the studies showing links between oral contraception and greater chances of glaucoma, heart risk and breast-cancer risk, it's amazing any women use them. And the NuvaRing lawsuit shows how dangerous hormonal contraception is.”

“The American people are belatedly finding out from the mainstream media just how far we've gone off the path of proper care of the bodies of women,” stated Stanek. She said media attention to the issue, as well prominent political attention to issues like the HHS contraception mandate, has created “a perfect storm for greater knowledge by women about why they should use better wisdom and responsibility in their sexual practices.”

Part of the increased media attention is coming from an unlikely source — former talk-show host and Hairspray star Ricki Lake. Lake is involved with a new documentary on the harms of hormonal contraception. Lake and her director, Abby Epstein, say the goal of their documentary is simple: to “wake women up to the unexposed side effects” of contraceptives. According to Lake and Epstein, “in the 50 years since its release, the birth-control pill has become synonymous with women’s liberation and has been thought of as some sort of miracle drug.”...

Vatican Library to digitise archives with Japanese support  The Vatican Library has begun digitising its priceless collection of ancient manuscripts dating from the origins of the Church.

The first stage of the project will cover some 3,000 handwritten documents over the next four years.

The cost - more than $20m (£12m) - will be borne by Japan's NTT Data technology company.

Eventually, the library says it hopes to make available online all its 82,000 manuscripts... image

Abortion Clinic Found Storing Remains of Aborted Baby in Fridge With Medications
Police executed a search warrant on Ulrich G. Klopfer’s Women’s Pavilion abortion clinic in South Bend, Indiana, seizing documents and other property on Wednesday, March 19, 2014.

Police from the St. Joseph County Special Victims Unit participated in the raid. It is unknown exactly what kind of documents or other evidence the search warrant allowed police to take. According to news reports, the police apparently made copies of the seized documents and returned the originals to Klopfer on Thursday.

Klopfer has faced a complicated tangle of legal issues in recent months...

Albert Mohler: Fred Phelps and the Anti-Gospel of Hate—A Necessary Word
Fred Phelps is dead. The fire-and-brimstone preacher, who for many years was pastor of the institution known as Westboro Baptist Church, died late Wednesday in a hospice in Topeka, Kansas. The announcement was made on his church’s website. The wording was simple: “Fred W. Phelps Sr. has gone the way of all flesh.” Thus brings to an end one of most bitters lives in modern history — and one of the most harmful to the Gospel.

Fred Phelps became infamous due to one central fact — he was a world-class hater. He brought great discredit to the Gospel of Christ because his message was undiluted hatred packaged as the beliefs of a church. Even Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center referred to Westboro Baptist Church as “this so-called church.” The damage was due to the fact that his platform for hatred was called a church. That provided the watching and listening world with a ready target and case study for the accusation that Christian conviction on questions of sexual morality is nothing more than disguised hatred for homosexuals. And, like radioactivity, Fred Phelps’ hatred will survive in lasting half-lives of animus.

The media made Fred Phelps into a public image, but they could hardly ignore a prophet of antipathy who showed up with his followers in public demonstrations and took his case for public protest all the way to the U. S. Supreme Court. Phelps and the media needed each other and fed each other. The New York Times described Phelps as “a loathed figure at the fringe of the American religious scene,” but he was not a fringe figure in terms of media attention. I have done my best not to add to his publicity, but as calls from the media in recent days made clear, the time has come for a necessary word...

Hate and How to Overcome It: How Should We Respond to the Tragic Death of Fred Phelps?
Death is always a tragedy. Hate makes it more so.

Today, a man known for hate died. CNN concluded that his infamy was worth a breaking news alert.

But how do we respond? How does this breaking news relate to the gospel's good news?...

Rahm Emmauel: You Know What School Children Need? More Condoms!
Teen pregnancy rates and STD's are so rampant in Chicago that Mayor Rahm Emanuel has decided to put free condoms in the high schools. Perfect! Let's give young hormone crazed teens a false sense of security and a wink and a nod to some profoundly bad decision making...

A.S. Haley: Texas Supreme Court Denies TEC Motion for Re-Hearing

March 21, 2014

Today the Texas Supreme Court denied the losing parties’  petitions for rehearing 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. 11-0332Masterson v. Diocese of Northwest Texas. The Court had delivered its opinions in the two cases last August 30. In the first case, the Court had 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).

Both cases now return to their respective trial courts for further proceedings—but in a new environment: not “deference to hierarchy,” but “neutral principles of law,” will govern the Texas courts from this point onward. And given ECUSA’s complete lack of ability to prove any ownership interest in diocesan or parish property under the latter standard, the odds favor Bishop Iker and his diocese, as well as the Church of the Good Shepherd in San Angelo. Here

Comments at Stand Firm

Thursday, March 20, 2014

AnglicanTV: 2 Interviews: Bp. Mark Lawrence & Fr. Tory Baucum

Mar 19, 2014
Kevin Kallsen interviews Bp. Mark Lawrence about last week's Diocesan Convention and the future of the Diocese of South Carolina.

Mar 20, 2014
Kevin Kallsen interviews Fr. Tory Baucum about his new appointment as a Sixth Preacher at Canterbury Cathedral and his current work as a Peacemaker in the ACNA.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

TEC appeal rejected in South Carolina case

18 Mar 2014
Diocese of South Carolina

CHARLESTON, SC, March 18, 2014 – The South Carolina Court of Appeals today rejected an appeal that would have delayed a trial in the Diocese of South Carolina lawsuit to protect diocesan and parish property from seizure by The Episcopal Church (TEC) and its local group, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC).

The Court decided that TEC and TECSC could not appeal a lower court ruling on the process to be used in discovery.

The Court of Appeals effectively said it will not tolerate legal shenanigans to delay a trial to decide whether the denomination may seize South Carolina property, including churches and the diocesan symbols. In asking the Court of Appeals to dismiss the action, the Diocese of South Carolina argued that TECSC is appealing a court order that is “unappealable”.

South Carolina’s Court of Appeals justices agreed.  the rest

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

There is a certain extravagance in love...

There is a certain extravagance in love. The alabaster phial of perfume was meant to be used drop by drop; it was meant to last for years, perhaps even a life-time; but in a moment of utter devotion, the woman poured it on the head of Jesus. Love does not stop nicely to calculate the less or more; love does not stop to work out how little it can respectively give. With a kind of divine extravagance, love gives everything it has and never counts the cost. Calculation is never any part of love.
...William Barclay image

Murderous Regimes and the Churches; Muslim herdsmen kill 100 Christians in Nigeria; Walking the Labyrinth at Duke Chapel?...more

The Hidden Costs of Surrogacy
...How then are the children from such arrangements faring? Sally claims they’re beautiful, healthy, and happy. And I sincerely hope that they are. But a major study released in June 2013 in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry that examined 30 surrogacy families evidences that surrogate children, while not suffering from psychological disorders, show elevated levels of adjustment difficulties. Moreover, the lack of a “gestational connection” to their biological mother or father may place children at increased psychological risk...

Assistant Professor of Philosophy Wants to Jail Global Warming Skeptics
...We have good reason to consider the funding of climate denial to be criminally and morally negligent. The charge of criminal and moral negligence ought to extend to all activities of the climate deniers who receive funding as part of a sustained campaign to undermine the public’s understanding of scientific consensus...

Why don't people go to church?
The church has been such a central part of my life and my family. I can’t image life without church. I came to faith in Christ through the church. I was discipled through the church. I met my husband in church. My husband and I were married in church. Both my daughters came to faith in Christ through the church and were discipled through the church and married young men in the church. Did I mention, I love the church? (Okay, to be honest, there have been a few seasons when it was hard to go.)

But many people don’t love the church. Some because they don’t know Christ, some because they have been hurt by the church, and others simply don’t find it necessary for their lives. Research has been collected and books have been written on why people don’t go to church. I did a little research on my own and asked my twitter followers to help me answer the question, “Why don’t people go to church?” Here are a few of their answers...     image

Feminist Studies Professor Who Accosted Pro-Life Students Charged With Assault
...As seen in a video at the YouTube site of the Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust (warning: profanity), a UCSB assistant professor took a sign away from a participant in a campus pro-life outreach effort. Flanked by two students, she took the sign back to her office and destroyed it.

Now feminist studies Associate Professor Mireille Miller-Young “is facing vandalism, battery, and robbery charges.”...

Murderous Regimes and the Churches
This stunning recent graphic  offers victim numbers on modern history’s greatest mass murderers. Each blood drop represents one million killed. China’s Mao Zedong ranks “first” with 78 million, followed by the Soviet Union’s Joseph Stalin with 23 million and Nazi Adolf Hitler 17 million.

“These cold-blooded dictators do not care for the value of life as much as they do achieving their selfish motives of domination, power, and immortality,” the grim graphic aptly summarizes.

Interestingly, Belgium’s notorious King Leopold is fourth with 15 million who died in the Belgian Congo under his brutal colonial exploitation. Then there’s Japanese World War II militarist Tojo with 5 million, and Turkey’s WWI chief Enver Pasha with 2.5 million and Cambodia’s Communist despot Pol Pot with 1.7 million. North Korea’s founding tyrant Kim Il Sung is next with 1.6 million, then Ethiopia’s Mengistu with 1.5 million. Nigerian dictator Yakobo Bowon (1966-1975) is the final listed villain with 1.1 million...

Muslim herdsmen kill 100 Christians in Nigeria
Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed more than 100 Christians and destroyed homes in Kaduna state in North-Western Nigeria Friday (March 14), Morning Star News reported.

Scores of the herdsmen simultaneously attacked the Christian villages of Ugwar Sankwai, Ungwar Gata and Chenshyi for about four hours. Yakubu Gandu Nkut, chairman of the Zankan area chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, said a pastor's wife and her three children were among the dead, according to Morning Star News...

Actor Who Called His Own TV Show ‘Filth’ Explains Why He Abandoned Hollywood for His Christian Faith
...Jones, who played the character Jake Harper in the sitcom, was still an active “Two and a Half Men” cast member when he called the program “filth” and announced that he no longer wanted to be a part of it. He ended up apologizing over his comments, though he later left the cast in 2013.

One year after exiting, Jones is going to school in Colorado and speaking to church audiences about his experience getting closer to God and leaving Hollywood....

Walking the Labyrinth at Duke Chapel?
...The website calls walking the 40-foot circle with a winding path an “ancient spiritual practice of meditation and self-centering found in religious traditions from around the world.” This claim is at least laudably vague. More commonly labyrinth church enthusiasts claim it’s an ancient Christian practice or at least dates to the Middle Ages.

Except there’s no evidence Christians walked labyrinths before 1990, starting primarily at San Francisco’s ultra liberal Grace Episcopal Cathedral, whose canon, Lauren Artress, also a psychotherapist, popularized labyrinths with her 1990s book: Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Practice. The book speculates but admits there’s no evidence that medieval Christians as a spiritual practice walked labyrinths embedded on the floors of some medieval cathedrals, as at Chartres.

In 1996 Artress, who espouses a sort of New Age mysticism, launched her World-Wide Labyrinth Project to “pepper the planet with labyrinths,” which has been hugely successful, although I think the movement peaked some years ago. On her website she credits as architects of the modern labyrinth movement three practitioners of geomancy, a sort of Western form of Feng Shui that, ironically, the medieval church condemned as pagan...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Anybody who lives beneath the Cross...

Anybody who lives beneath the Cross and who has discerned in the Cross of Jesus the utter wickedness of all men and of his own heart will find there is no sin that can ever be alien to him. Anybody who has once been horrified by the dreadfulness of his own sin that nailed Jesus to the Cross will no longer be horrified by even the rankest sins of a brother. ...Dietrich Bonhoeffer image

Misconduct charges filed against Katharine Jefferts Schori

American Anglican Fellowship
The American Anglican Fellowship Inc. (AAF) believes it necessary to post  this letter because a leaked copy is currently circulating the Internet. We regret this happening, however to insure accuracy and the purpose and intent of AAF action, the following is a true copy of the AAF  letter dated 12/19/2013 reporting possible violations of the Constitution and Canons by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church sent to the Intake Officer.  Hyperlinks  refer to published public reports and articles. None of the published reports or articles used as information to the Intake Officer is confidential or privileged, neither civil or criminal, but ecclesiastical in nature. The public articles and reports referred to in this letter are not  necessarily the opinion of AAF Inc.

AAF understands the Intake Officer will perform a preliminary investigation to determine if the information is  true, it would or would not, constitute a violation of the Title IV Disciplinary Canons. We await his decision.

American Anglican Fellowship Inc.
P.O. Box 434
Brandywine, MD 20613

December 19, 2013                                                                        
Dear Bishop Matthews,

The American Anglican Fellowship, Inc. (AAF), an organization of current and former members of The Episcopal Church (TEC), submits this Information to you regarding possible violations of the Constitution and Canons by the Presiding Bishop in accordance with Canon IV.6.2 and with the understanding that, “by virtue of Baptism, all Members of the Church are called to holiness of life and accountability to one another” (Canon IV.I).

Many Episcopalians believe TEC has departed from the traditional faith held by the consensus of the Anglican Communion and world Christendom.  To remain in unity with the “one holy catholic and apostolic church” (Nicene Creed, John 17:21-23, 1 John 1:3), some transfer to another Anglican body (e.g., Anglican Church in North America) or to another denomination. Some parishes have departed TEC with their properties after diocesan negotiations.  However, in the vast number of situations, the Presiding Bishop and various bishops (her assigns) have filed lawsuits to seize these properties and taken action to extinguish TEC clergy from the ordained ministry who have transferred to another Anglican Church.

petition by more than 5,000 Christians, including 697 clergy and 24 bishops, unsuccessfully sought to obtain an explanation from the Presiding Bishop concerning the litigious actions that have squandered an estimated $21.5 million in Church funds – money that should be used for traditional Christian purposes.

The litigation and punitive administrative actions are a discredit to all as they contradict (1) Christ’s teaching to be charitable and loving towards fellow Christians (Mt. 5:43-48); (2) apostolic instructions not to sue other Christians (1 Cor. 6:1-7); (3) policies of past Presiding Bishops allowing parish departures with property; and (4) practices of other denominations (e.g., Presbyterian and Lutheran).  When the Israelites were called by God to leave Egypt, they were allowed to leave with their property (Ex. 12:31-36).  TEC should do nothing less.  Pharaoh’s attempt to get the Israelites and property back had disastrous consequences.  The same can happen to TEC.  With departing parishes, TEC should have the spirit of Gamaliel -- if it is God’s will, these parishes and TEC may someday re-unite (Acts 5:38-39).  In the Civil War, TEC split between North and South.  After the war, parishes and dioceses re-united.[1]

Title IV, “Ecclesiastical Discipline,” establishes procedures whereby Members of the Clergy “shall be subject to proceedings” for “knowingly violating or attempting to violate, directly or through the acts of another person, the Constitution or Canons of the Church or of any Diocese” (Canon IV.3.1(a)).  Members of the Clergy “shall be accountable for any breach of the Standards of Conduct set forth in Canon IV.4” when they are “material and substantial” or “of clear and weighty importance to the ministry of the Church” (Canon IV.3.2-3).

A number of public reports and articles have been issued over the past few years describing conduct alleged to violate TEC’s Constitution and Canons.  Based on this information and belief, descriptions of six alleged offenses are provided below...

the rest at Anglican Ink

Earthquakes LA and Peru; Religious hostility in the newsroom; Iraq mulling law allowing men to marry 9-year-old girls...more

Earthquake: 4.4 quake strikes Los Angeles, no reports of injuries
...According to the USGS, the epicenter was six miles from Beverly Hills, seven miles from Universal City and seven miles from Santa Monica...

Magnitude 6.3 earthquake strikes northwestern Peru
A magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck northwestern Peru near its border with Ecuador on Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported....

My cross to bear: Religious hostility in the newsroom
...As the years went on, and my crosses hung in my jewelry box, I realized that I didn’t even feel right wearing them outside of the TV station either. In my head, the unofficial work rule bled into my personal life, taking me farther away from God. Somehow, I thought, someone will see me wearing a cross in a grocery store and decide that I’m not objective, and then I’d be denied the ability to report the news, a job I loved.

The unspoken and spoken bias meant that I didn’t talk about my faith at work. And I certainly didn’t talk about my volunteer work at a pro-life pregnancy center where we collected clothes for babies, and talked to women about adoption alternatives.

A nagging feeling of guilt (another tried and true Catholic tradition) always lurked in the back of my mind. I was ashamed of myself for tossing aside my faith in God, my belief in Jesus Christ as my Savior. It wasn’t lost on me that all around the world Christians die for the right to bear witness in public, and, yet, in our free country, I hid my beliefs in the name of the news gods...

Iraq mulling law allowing men to marry 9-year-old girls
A contentious draft law being considered in Iraq could open the door to girls as young as nine getting married and would require wives to submit to sex on their husband's whim, provoking outrage from rights activists and many Iraqis who see it as a step backward for women's rights.

The measure, aimed at creating different laws for Iraq's majority Shiite population, could further fray the country's divisions amid some of the worst bloodshed since the sectarian fighting that nearly ripped the country apart after the U.S.-led invasion. It also comes as more and more children under 18 get married in the country.

"That law represents a crime against humanity and childhood," said prominent Iraqi human rights activist Hana Adwar. "Married underage girls are subjected to physical and psychological suffering...

The hidden rot in the jobs numbers
Hours worked are declining, resulting in the equivalent of a net loss of 100,000 jobs since September...

8 Ways to Get More Done This Week
...Like everything else in the world, your ability to get things done is always spiralling toward chaos. If you allow yourself to coast for a few weeks, your life will get less orderly, not more orderly. Not only that, but you will soon find yourself neglecting the important tasks in order to focus on the urgent tasks. Before you know it, you’ll be off-focus and out of control.

Here are 8 ways to take control and get more done this week (and every week)...

Douthat: The Age of Individualism
...In the increasing absence of local, personal forms of fellowship and solidarity, he suggested, people were naturally drawn to mass movements, cults of personality, nationalistic fantasias. The advance of individualism thus eventually produced its own antithesis — conformism, submission and control.

You don’t have to see a fascist or Communist revival on the horizon (I certainly don’t) to see this argument’s potential relevance for our apparently individualistic future. You only have to look at the place where millennials — and indeed, most of us — are clearly seeking new forms of community today.

That place is the online realm, which offers a fascinating variation on Nisbet’s theme. Like modernity writ large, it promises emancipation and offers new forms of community that transcend the particular and local. But it requires a price, in terms of privacy surrendered, that past tyrannies could have only dreamed of exacting from their subjects...

Phil Martelli's Grandson

Saturday, March 15, 2014

As our life comes to maturity...

As our life comes to maturity we discover to our confusion that human ears can pick up from the Infinite many incompatible tunes, but cannot hear the whole symphony. And the melody confided to our care, the one which we alone perhaps can contribute and which taxes our powers to the full, has in it not only the notes of triumph but the notes of pain. The distinctive mark therefore is not happiness but vocation: work demanded and power given, but given only on condition that we spend it and ourselves on others without stint. ...Evelyn Underhill image

Terry Fullam dead at 82

15 Mar 2014
George Conger

The Bishop of Central Florida reports the Rev. Everett L. Fullam has died. He had been in declining health for several years.

One of the most influential Episcopal priests of his generation and a founder of the modern church renewal movement, "Terry Fullam" was born in Barre, VT in 1948 and upon graduation from high school entered the Eastman School of Music. While serving as a choirmaster at a Methodist Church in Rochester, Fullam underwent a conversion experience withdrawing from Eastman and entering Gordon College in Wenham, Mass. He went on to earn a master’s degree from Harvard in philosophy and began an academic career that culminated as a professor at Barrington College in 1972.

In 1967 Terry Fullam was ordained by the Episcopal Bishop of Rhode Island after undertaking private studies in preparation for ordination.

In 1972 he was appointed Rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Darien, Conn. During his tenure at St Paul’s, (1972-1989) the parish saw significant revival and became one of the fastest growing churches in America. Terry Fullam became a sought after preacher and evangelist and was widely recognized as one of the leaders of the renewal movement in America... the rest

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus; Christian persecution in Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Somalia...

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus
Book Review: ...Qureshi was born the eldest son of Pakistani immigrants and he grew up in America and the U.K.—wherever the U.S. Navy assigned his father. His parents were devout Muslims and wherever they went, they attached themselves to a mosque and to the local Islamic community. Qureshi grew up studying, understanding and loving the Koran; he performed his prayers just like every other good Muslim. His father was an amateur apologist for Islam, so he, too, grew up with an interest in defending his faith. He loved his religion in both its theology and its practice.

While Qureshi was in college he met David Wood, a young Christian man who, like him, was studying toward a career in medicine. The two became fast and dedicated friends, who loved and respected one another despite adhering to very different faiths. As their relationship continued, they became religious sparring partners, each testing and challenging the other.

It was through these conversations that Qureshi began to grapple with the claims of Christianity that countered his Islamic faith. He grappled with the authority and reliability of the Bible contra the authority and reliability of the Koran; he grappled with salvation by faith in Jesus Christ contra salvation by accruing good deeds; he grappled with the deity of Jesus Christ contra the prophecies of Mohammad...

Churches in Sri Lanka experiencing intimidation and violence by Buddhists
A campaign of violence and intimidation is being waged by Buddhists against Christians in Sri Lanka, Release International has warned.

The organisation says religious intolerance has been increasing for a decade and that in the past year, churches have been forced to close down and Christians prevented from holding prayer meetings or Bible studies in their homes...

Nigeria: Attacks by Boko Haram Kill 29 innocent school children
...Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, told reporters, “We have run out of excuses. We no longer have any excuse for our inability to protect our innocent, defenseless children from gratuitous violence.”

“Whatever grievances the terrorists harbour against the government of Nigeria, Nigeria’s innocent children have nothing to do with it,” Tambuwal said. “It is therefore an act of cowardice worthy of ringing condemnation to target the children, to strike at those who are not only innocent but are also unable to strike back or defend themselves.”

Boko Haram attacks have devastated villages, leaving many homeless. Since 2009, thousands have been killed. It’s created a humanitarian crisis in Nigeria that few news outlets are talking about...

Christians beheaded by Islamic extremists in Somalia
Islamic extremists from the rebel Al Shabaab militia last week publicly beheaded a mother of two girls and her cousin in southeastern Somalia after discovering they were Christians, Morning Star News reported from sources inside the country.

In the port town of Barawa, the extremists March 4 called residents to the town center to witness the executions of the 41-year-old mother, Sadia Ali Omar, and her 35-year-old cousin, Osman Mohamoud Moge, the sources said.

Before killing them, an Al Shabaab militant announced, “We know these two people are Christians who recently came back from Kenya. We want to wipe out any underground Christian living inside of mujahidin [jihadists'] area,” according to an area resident whose name is undisclosed for security reasons...

Atheist Group: Remove Cross-Shaped Beam from 9/11 Museum
Atheists are continuing to challenge the display of a 17-foot, cross-shaped beam in a national memorial museum that is set to open this spring.

Rescue workers found the beam two days after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Frank Silecchia was a construction worker at the burning wreckage of the World Trade Center towers. He discovered the beam while clearing the burning debris...

Friday, March 14, 2014

Movie: God’s Not Dead

Kevin Sorbo interviewed about his new movie, God’s Not Dead
On March 21 the movie God’s Not Dead will be released to cinemas across the United States. On April 11 it will be on general release in the UK.  Having had the privilege of seeing a preview of the film I am very excited about it.  The premise of the movie is the interaction between a strongly atheist philosophy professor and a Christian student. It is professionally produced, and guaranteed to tug on the heart strings as well as provoke conversations.  Many churches in the USA are block booking seats and encouraging their congregations to bring their friends...

God's Not Dead: Official Full Movie Trailer

The Power of the Cross

"For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." -1 Corinthians 1:18

Fukushima: Three Years Later; Conservative girls shunned at World Girl Scouts UN Meeting; big blow for abortion advocates...more

Fukushima: Three Years Later
...Three years have passed since the comprehensive meltdown, which continues to contaminate everything it touches. During all that time, invisible odorless particles with unspeakable consequences have been descending over the region every time rain or snow falls. On February 8, 2014, Tokyo experienced its heaviest snowfall in forty-five years.

Residents around Fukushima long ago deserted their houses, farms and factories, leaving behind pet dogs and cats, and domestic animals such as horses, cows, pigs, and chickens. They are feral now, freely roaming the no-man’s land, and multiplying. Tenacious bamboo forests have claimed tiers of fertile rice paddies and graceful orchards. The senior citizens who escaped to the mountains continue to die of diseases and stresses related to their dislocation and the medical effects of the meltdown. The newly dead number 14,000, our government says. In all, 160,000 residents fled the region and are not allowed to return.

The horrific scene in Fukushima, to which no end can be envisioned, rarely shows up in the nation’s mass media. Long after the disaster, there persisted an eerie pall of deliberate denial regarding anything related to Fukushima. The Japanese took to reading The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal or The Guardian to assess the magnitude of their disaster. How many Japanese can read such high-level English? And why should they be required to, when Japan has one of the most advanced mass media systems in the world? We were forced to wonder: does our media collaborate too comfortably with Tokyo Electric and the Abe government, which promotes nuclear power, and hence fail to publish any alarming news about the catastrophe? The answer to this rhetorical question would seem self-evident...

Conservative girls shunned at World Girl Scouts UN Meeting
Who speaks for youth? Catholic teens are wondering after participating in a Girl Scouts meeting to collect young women’s opinions on the new goals that will steer UN policy – and billions of dollars in aid – for years to come.

“We were just a ‘means to an end,’” said one young lady. “All they wanted was for us to validate their point.”

The UN is undergoing a lengthy process to determine new goals on poverty and development. Many say young people’s opinions should be included and a number of groups are stepping forward to speak for youth. This week the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) held a meeting to hear from young women and adults were not allowed...

A big blow for abortion advocates | American Thinker
Bad news for pro-abortion advocates: the United States District Court for the District of Maryland just issued a ruling on an important First Amendment pro-life case (Centro Tepeyac v. Montgomery County), exposing, yet again, the radicalism and lack of care for women of the pro-“choice” movement.
The case dealt with a desperate attempt by abortion advocates to harass crisis pregnancy centers (CPC), who have helped thousands of women realize that they need not always choose abortion when confronting a crisis pregnancy.  The seriously liberal Montgomery County in Maryland passed a law requiring “Limited Service Pregnancy Resource Centers” to post a clearly visible sign (in English and Spanish) in its waiting room saying that (1) “the Center does not have a licensed medical professional on staff” and (2) “the Montgomery County Health Officer encourages women who are or may be pregnant to consult with a licensed health care provider.”
Centro Tepeyac, a CPC, represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, challenged the law as a violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 
Montgomery County argued that the law was needed “to protect the health of County residents.” They argued that women “may mistake a [CPC] for a medical clinic or its staff members as licensed medical professionals and, because of that erroneous belief, could fail to consult an actual medical professional, leading to negative health outcomes.”
There was one small detail missing in their dream scenario, though: evidence.  Their own expert witness, Dr. Ulder Tillman, Health Officer for Montgomery County and Chief of Public Health Services, testified that “she had never received a complaint from someone who sought service at a [CPC] in Montgomery County.”...
Putting Loved Ones Out of Our Misery: The Convenience of Assisted Suicide
Emotional whipsawing is the lifeblood of euthanasia advocacy (pardon the pun). The movement thrives on often truly heart-wrenching stories to convince society to grant a general license allowing doctors or family members to help kill the disabled, despairing and dying.

The Daily Mail carried such a report recently of a mother named Heather Pratten who smothered her son as he was committing suicide because he was in anguish at having Huntington’s disease. From the story...

Job Seekers Swarm Marijuana Job Fair As Colorado’s Green Rush Continues
If there was any doubt that the “green rush” is on in Colorado, the scene outside a marijuana industry career fair in Denver on Thursday looked like a throwback to the Great Recession.

Thousands of people waited for hours with resumes in hand in a line that stretched several blocks. The O.penVAPE Cannabis Job Fair featured 15 different businesses associated with recreational marijuana sales, and it had turn people away by the day’s end.

St. Louis resident Shannon Irvin has been jobless for several months. He drove to Colorado for the fair with hopes of breaking into the state’s budding industry and wound up waiting in line for 2 hours...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Those who follow the Lamb...

If anyone tells you that the life of prayer is one uninterrupted experience of being happy with Jesus, do not follow him. He is not a safe guide. Those who follow the Lamb know that there are stretches of darkness and loneliness and perplexity along the way, and they know that Jesus himself went that way. ...Lesslie Newbigin image