Saturday, November 29, 2014

One of the essential paradoxes of Advent...

One of the essential paradoxes of Advent: that while we wait for God, we are with God all along ,that while we need to be reassured of God’s arrival, or the arrival of our homecoming, we are already at home. While we wait, we have to trust, to have faith, but it is God’s grace that gives us that faith. As with all spiritual knowledge, two things are true, and equally true, at once. The mind can’t grasp paradox; it is the knowledge of the soul.
...Michelle Blake image

Bishop Julian Dobbs Advent Bible Series: Part I

Advent 1 from Julian Dobbs on Vimeo.

Part One:   Christ is surely coming! 
                            2 Thessalonians 1

Friday, November 28, 2014

Anglican Unscripted Episode 141

Nov 26, 2014

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

00:00 TEC Loses in Illinois Supreme Court

Albert Mohler: The Ferguson Moment—A Moral Test for the Nation

November 26, 2014

The president’s comments were restrained and responsible. As a matter of fact, it’s hard to imagine a more suitable and responsible set of comments for a president to make—much less the nation’s first elected African-American president.

The president went on to talk about the cooperation needed between the police and the community during this time:

“Working with law enforcement officials to make sure their ranks are representative of the communities they serve. We know that makes a difference. It means working to train officials so that law enforcement conducts itself in a way that is fair to everybody.”

This is a fundamental statement that virtually everyone should agree with. The difficulty is pulling that off in the context of heightened tensions. In a truly tragic juxtaposition, even as the president was speaking such judicious words, the media displayed a video stream of burning buildings, looting and vandalism, and protesters committing violent actions in the street.

The president’s statement also included these very important words:

“But what is also true is that there are still problems and communities of color aren’t just making these problems up.”

When you think about how President Obama should address the issue, once again it’s hard to imagine how a statement could be more judicious and responsible than that... the rest

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life...

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected
if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy
by the word of God and prayer.  -1 Timothy 4:4-5

When everything we receive from him is received and prized as a fruit and pledge of his covenant love, then his bounties, instead of being set up as rivals and idols to draw our heart from him, awaken us to fresh exercises of gratitude, and furnish us with fresh motives of cheerful obedience every hour. ...John Newton

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity….It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. ...Melody Beattie image

Illinois Supreme Court upholds ruling granting secession of the Diocese of Quincy from the Episcopal Church

26 Nov 2014
by George Conger

The Illinois Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal made by the Episcopal Church in its lawsuit with the Diocese of Quincy. The decision not to review the Fourth Appellate Court of Appeals decision, published on 26 November 2014, leaves standing the lower court finding that the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church of the USA do not forbid dioceses from withdrawing from the national church.

The ruling came in a twenty-eight page summary of dispositions of petitions before the court. On page twelve the court stated: “No. 118186 - The Diocese of Quincy et al., respondents, v. The Episcopal Church et al., petitioners. Leave to appeal, Appellate Court, Fourth District. (4-13-0901) Petition for leave to appeal denied.”

The national church may appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court or ask the Illinois Supreme Court for reconsideration. However the US Supreme Court has declined to hear related church property cases. The decision upholds the opinion of the Fourth District Court of Appeal which found the Episcopal Church was an unincorporated association of dioceses formed under American common law. Under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution – Freedom of Association – dioceses, as distinct legal entities, have the right to join or leave a group at any time. the rest

A.S. Haley: ECUSA Denied Leave to Appeal in Quincy Case Today the Illinois Supreme Court posted twenty-eight pages of its recent dispositions of requests made by losing parties for leave to appeal their decision to that Court. On page twelve, at the very top, appears this brief notation:
No. 118186
The Diocese of Quincy et al., respondents, v. The Episcopal Church et al., petitioners. Leave to appeal, Appellate Court, Fourth District. (4-13-0901)
Petition for leave to appeal denied.
What this means is that the highest court of a State has now ruled that there is no provision in the governing documents of the Episcopal Church (USA) that keeps a Diocese from withdrawing its membership in that organization. The Church in fact is an unincorporated association of dioceses fashioned under American common law, and not under the laws of any one given State. Under the First Amendment, members of such associations are free to leave the group at any time, with only reasonable restrictions placed on their ability to do so (they could be required to pay any back dues still owed, for example). The opinion delivered last April by the Illinois Fourth District Court of Appeal stands as written...

Christians Now Outnumber Communists in China; Suicide bombers kill more than 40 at Nigerian market; Automation Makes Us Dumb...more

ISIS Destroy Convent in Mosul Yesterday, jihadi militants of the Islamic State, who control the city of Mosul, used explosives to severely damage the convent of the Chaldean Sisters of the Sacred Heart - one of 45 Christian institutions they have captured since June. Previously they were living in the building.

Chaldean sources report that the explosion took place in two phases. The first attempt was unsuccessful, but then the jihadists used more powerful explosives, causing massive damage to the convent, with the intent to eliminate the cross that stands on the place of worship...

  Two teenage girls wearing suicide belts blew themselves up in a market in northern Nigeria on Tuesday, killing more than 40 people, authorities said. It was the latest in a string of horrific attacks in Nigeria for which Islamist militants are blamed.

The day before, dozens were killed in Damasak, a town on the border with Niger, when insurgents disguised as traders attacked the local market, gunning down people seemingly at random in a style of attack that has become commonplace in northeastern Nigeria.

Days before that, suspected militants killed 48 fish traders from a village near Lake Chad.

There has been little response to the attacks from the Nigerian military...

Why the Crackdown? Christians Now Outnumber Communists in China China’s Communist government has been on an anti-Christian rampage of late, tearing down churches in the coastal city of Wenzhou and elsewhere, arresting underground bishops and home church leaders, and illicitly ordaining pliant priests as Catholic “bishops.“ But underneath this escalating campaign of repression – in fact, the reason for it – is a rapidly growing population of Christians.

There are now an estimated 100 million plus Christians in the world’s most populous country, with Catholics alone accounting for about 12 million of this number. Many of these are new converts who, eager to fulfill the Great Commission, are busy evangelizing their fellow Chinese citizens. The Chinese Communist Party has been doing some recruiting of its own in recent years, opening its ranks to intellectuals, business owners, and other previously suspect classes – even capitalists! Still, the 86.7 million formal members of this decaying "faith" – most of whom are Communists in name only – are now outnumbered by a growing and vibrant Chinese Christianity...

New Obamacare rule means you won’t know if you’re paying for abortions

Obamacare offers firms $3,000 incentive to hire illegals over native-born workers ...President Obama’s temporary amnesty, which lasts three years, declares up to 5 million illegal immigrants to be lawfully in the country and eligible for work permits, but it still deems them ineligible for public benefits such as buying insurance on Obamacare’s health exchanges.

Under the Affordable Care Act, that means businesses who hire them won’t have to pay a penalty for not providing them health coverage — making them $3,000 more attractive than a similar native-born worker, whom the business by law would have to cover...

IRS sued for monitoring U.S. churches
In a lawsuit settlement with the atheist Freedom from Religion Foundation, the Internal Revenue Service admitted it had monitored churches for allegedly illegal political activity, but the details never were released because the group withdrew its complaint.
Now, Washington watchdog Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the IRS seeking any records relevant to IRS monitoring of churches and other tax exempt organizations regarding alleged political activity.

The suit requests access to the communications that went on between the IRS and FFRF about the issue...
Automation Makes Us Dumb; Human intelligence is withering as computers do more, but there’s a solution Artificial intelligence has arrived. Today’s computers are discerning and sharp. They can sense the environment, untangle knotty problems, make subtle judgments and learn from experience. They don’t think the way we think—they’re still as mindless as toothpicks—but they can replicate many of our most prized intellectual talents. Dazzled by our brilliant new machines, we’ve been rushing to hand them all sorts of sophisticated jobs that we used to do ourselves.

But our growing reliance on computer automation may be exacting a high price. Worrisome evidence suggests that our own intelligence is withering as we become more dependent on the artificial variety. Rather than lifting us up, smart software seems to be dumbing us down...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Massive pro-life march in Madrid; Sunday morning inconvenient for church services; Sacred art...more

A Decision in Ferguson: How Should Evangelicals Respond?   In light of the grand jury decision handed down tonight in in the wake of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, MO, I think it is of utmost importance that all Christians, but specifically white evangelicals, talk a little less and listen a little more.

Or, put another way, maybe some need to spend less time insisting that African Americans shouldn't be upset and spend more time asking why some are. Yes, this case reminds us again that the racial divide is clear, as a just released CNN poll demostrated.(sic)
I wasn't in the grand jury room, and I don't know the evidence, but many godly African American leaders are hurting and they are explaining why.
I think we should listen to them...

UK: ‘Parties treat gay marriage opponents as morally inferior’  David Cameron’s ‘casual imposition’ of gay marriage “insulted settled beliefs”, and “wounded him politically”, a former editor of The Daily Telegraph has said.

Writing for the paper, Charles Moore commented that the main political parties treat opponents of same-sex marriage as “moral inferiors”.

He criticised the assumption in parts of the Western world that those who disagree with redefining marriage are “bigots” and should be “virtually disqualified from public office”...

Sacred art
Fra Angelico’s frescos inspired generations of devotion. Can religious art still work its magic on the godless?

Sunday morning inconvenient for church services ... says Church of England ...Attendances at midweek services rose even faster with the number of adults doubling to 15,000.

Yet attendance at Sunday services in parishes has halved since the 1960s to below 800,000.

Speaking on behalf of the Church of England, Mr Dorber said the fact that midweek cathedral services were likely to be “reasonably short” was also part of the attraction.

He said: “People often squeeze them in to very, very pressurised lifestyles, whereas at the weekend you have got commitments with children doing sport, shopping, household maintenance.

“Life is run at the double these days and weekends are very pressurised and very committed.

“Taking out half an hour or an hour during the week is much more negotiable, it comes out of much more discretionary time.”...
Proof God's not dead? How midweek Cathedral attendance doubled in a decade

Massive pro-life march in Madrid demands Spanish government rescind permissive abortion law     Madrid was mobbed with pro-life activists this weekend, demanding that the government live up to its promise to enact legislation protecting the unborn.

A huge pro-life demonstration, attended by 1,400,000 according to the organizers and 60,000 according to police sources, took place in Madrid on Saturday to demand that the government live up to its election promise to reverse the previous Zapatero government’s law allowing abortion-on-demand.

Thousands of families and individuals converged on La Plaza de Colón carrying banners that read, "Every life matters," and "For life, women and motherhood.”...

Monday, November 24, 2014

That which is born in prayer...

play of light in santhome church
For this sin hungry age we need a prayer-hungry Church. We need to explore again the "exceeding great and precious promises of God." In "that great day," the fire of judgment is going to test the sort, not the size, of the work we have done. That which is born in prayer will survive the test. Prayer does business with God. Prayer creates hunger for souls; hunger for souls creates prayer. The understanding soul prays, the praying soul gets understanding. To the soul who prays in self-owned weakness, the Lord gives His strength. ...Leonard Ravenhill image

Grand jury in Ferguson case does not indict officer in Michael Brown shooting

November 24, 2014

A grand jury in St. Louis County on Monday declined to indict the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in August in a case that touched off nationwide protests and cries of police brutality.

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch announced the decision Monday evening. A grand jury of nine whites and three blacks had been meeting weekly since Aug. 20 to consider evidence. The panel met for 70 hours and heard from 60 witnesses.
McCulloch stressed that the grand jurors were "the only people who heard every witness ... and every piece of evidence." He said many witness presented conflicting statements that ultimately were inconsistent with the physical evidence.

"These grand jurors poured their hearts and soul into this process," he said.  the rest

NYT: Grand Jury Does Not Charge Ferguson Officer in Michael Brown Shooting

Anglican Unscripted Episode 140

Nov 24, 2014

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

Kenya kills 100 Islamist militants who claimed responsibility for bus attack; The Secret Life of Passwords...more

Kenya kills 100 Islamist militants who claimed responsibility for bus attack  Kenyan security forces have pursued and killed more than 100 militants and destroyed their camp in Somalia after the ambush of a Nairobi-bound bus that killed 28 people, Deputy President William Ruto said on Sunday.

Somalia's Islamist al Shabaab militants have claimed responsibility for the attack on Saturday, when gunmen ordered passengers on the bus to recite Koran verses and shot dead non-Muslims - 19 men and nine women - who could not.

The group said the killing outside Mandera, a town in the far northeast near the Somali and Ethiopian borders, was in retaliation for raids on mosques in the southern port city of Mombasa...

In advance of Ferguson grand jury decision, something's missing when Los Angeles Times goes to church  -GetReligion

Three Lies About Obamacare Jonathan Gruber Accidentally Revealed  For all the hang-wringing over economist Jonathan Gruber’s comments about “the stupidity of the American voter,” there’s been less outrage over the official obfuscation of Obamacare that his comments have revealed. Perhaps that’s because the obfuscation is less shocking, on the surface, than the disdain Gruber shows for the unwashed masses.

But it’s actually more important, because it reveals a pattern of deception surrounding the law that’s been there from the very beginning. Gruber was about as much of an insider during the creation of Obamacare as one could be, and it’s reasonable to think that his understanding of the law was the same, more or less, as that of the White House. Here’s the three main falsehoods about Obamacare, perpetuated by the administration and the law’s champions in Congress, that Gruber’s candor have revealed...

The Secret Life of Passwords
We despise them – yet we imbue them with our hopes and dreams, our dearest memories, our deepest meanings. They unlock much more than our accounts...

Nov 14, 2014

As part of our continuing series "On the Road," Steve Hartman meets Jason Brown, who quit the NFL to tackle a new field, literally.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Lift up thine eyes, O watchman...

Lift up thine eyes, O watchman, the armies of the Lord
Are riding forth to conquest with buckler, shield and sword;
Glad tidings unto Zion, that valiant host shall ring,
And shout aloud, “Hosanna! The Lord, the Lord is King”;
And shout aloud, “Hosanna! The Lord, the Lord is King.”
What dost thou see, O watchman? What dost thou see afar?
“The gleaming of a banner, the rising of a Star.”
Then cry aloud, O watchman, with trumpet voice proclaim,
To all a full salvation, through Christ, the Savior’s Name,
To all a full salvation, through Christ, the Savior’s Name.
That radiant banner gleaming, that Star divinely bright,
Shall bear to every nation the blessèd Gospel light;
All kingdoms, crowns, and scepters, before the Cross shall fall,
And Christ shall reign triumphant, the King and Lord of all;
And Christ shall reign triumphant, the King and Lord of all.
-Fanny Crosby image

Friday, November 21, 2014

Anglican Unscripted Episode 139 - Rebooting Anglicanism

Nov 21, 2014

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

Rebooting Anglicanism without Canterbury.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Billy Graham: In Our ‘Lawless and Wicked Age; Grisly quotes from abortionists;...more

NC: More Magistrates Quit Over Same-Sex Marriage Issue than Previously Reported 
..."I explained to the judges that I could not continue to perform as a magistrate if it included doing something that was against my sincere religious beliefs," Kallam said at a rally supporting his decision to quit his job.

"I felt like to perform same sex unions would be in violation of the Lord's commands so I couldn't do that," said former Gaston Co. Magistrate Bill Stevenson after his resignation.

Time Warner Cable News has been able to determine at least 10 of the 16 magistrates who left last month, did so because they will not perform same-sex marriages.

"There were no offers to make any accommodations,” Kallam said. “I basically was told that you either do this or you will be suspended without pay and will then be dismissed."...

The Modern Supermarket Is a Miracle ...Sheer selection at the supermarket overwhelms. I was struck recently by the alarming number of items of whose history, use, and preparation I am completely ignorant. Pitted loquats are $3.19 a can, and whole lychees in syrup only two quarters more. Head cheese remains a mystery—and please, please don’t enlighten me. I have no idea what a yucca root is, but yucca’n get one for less than a buck a pound. I came home from the grocer’s a few weeks back and excitedly proposed to the dear wife that we work our way around the produce section and sample the unfamiliar wares. This culminated in my butchering a squishy, yellow, football-sized orb known as a crenshaw melon, which was underripe (how were we to know?) but still good...

Five quotes from abortion providers that show abortion’s grisly reality  For those of us who are active in the pro-life movement, and who know what an unborn baby looks like even at the earliest stages, it is hard to believe that so many people do not know that abortions often leave behind recognizable body parts. People really are uninformed about fetal development, especially in the first trimester. For example, this past May, pro-lifers responded with incredulity when comedian Sarah Silverman called unborn babies “goo.”

The next time one of your proabortion friends or family members makes a statement like Silverman’s, direct them to these quotes by three abortion clinic workers and two abortionists...

Billy Graham: In Our ‘Lawless and Wicked Age … We've Taught the Philosophy of the Devil  ... Reverend Graham’s commentary, first broadcast in August 1955, was published in the November 4,  2014 issue of Decision magazine, under the headline “Raising Children in a Godless Age.”

“Many Christian parents are becoming fearful that they cannot properly train their children in this lawless and wicked age,” and are asking, “What can I do with my son? My daughter?” said Rev. Graham.

“We are beginning to reap what has been sown for the past generation,” he said.  “We have taught the philosophy of the Devil, who says, ‘Do as you please.’ Behaviorism has been the moral philosophy of much of our education in the past few years.”...

New York, Great Lakes Snowstorm Leaves 7 Dead; More Snow Expected  A massive snowstorm has killed at least seven people and left many more stranded in their vehicles in Buffalo, New York, and affected several other Great Lake states, including northern Wisconsin and Michigan. Further snow is expected to hit Buffalo on Thursday, which was buried under six feet of snow and declared a state of emergency.

"This storm is an extraordinarily difficult situation, with snowfall that may break records. We are prepared, but we need residents to stay off the roads so that first responders can do their work and keep people safe," New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Anglicanism and women bishops: Hello ladies, goodbye Communion?

The Economist
November 19, 2014

Amid loud sighs of relief in many quarters, and muffled moans from a traditionalist minority, the Church of England has cleared the last procedural obstacle to the appointment of women bishops. At a meeting on Monday of the church's General Synod, only around 30 of the 480 people present raised their hands against the necessary change in canon law. This means that a woman could be wearing episcopal purple by the end of the year, and a lady could join the ranks of the "lords spiritual"—Anglican prelates who sit in the upper chamber of Parliament—by next spring.

This was a big but expected landmark; a Synod vote two years ago, in which the measure narrowly failed to gain the approval of lay delegates, looks in retrospect like a rather weird anomaly. The change was overwhelmingly favoured by the leadership of the church, the clergy (one-third of which is female), and by public opinion—which matters for a church which aspires to be spiritual voice of a whole nation, however diverse or secular. The feelings of low-church evangelicals who oppose women bishops have to some degree been assuaged by a promise that one of their number will be appointed to high office; among high-church opponents, quite a few have taken up an offer to join the Roman Catholic church. So hard-line opposition to ladies in purple has gradually faded.
If this week is remembered as an important one by church historians, it may be for a different reason: it was the moment when the archbishop of Canterbury finally acknowledged that the Anglican Communion, the global family of churches numbering about 80m of which he is head, may be impossible to hold together.  the rest

Islam comes to the National Cathedral; The closing of the Oxbridge mind; Three parent babies are unsafe, warns top US scientist...more

Islam comes to the National Cathedral
...Meanwhile, the Episcopal Church blindly, blithely thinks the cathedral’s Islamic service “demonstrates an appreciation of one another’s prayer tradition.”

In fact, it is against Islamic law for Muslims to hold Christianity or Judaism in the same regard the Episcopal Church is now showing Islam. Indeed, Islamic law “abrogates” (cancels) Christianity and Judaism as “previously revealed religions (that) were valid in their own eras,” but are no longer -- not after the advent of Islam in the 7th century.

I am quoting above from “Reliance of the Traveller,” the authoritative Sunni law book, which, in explaining the “finality” of Islam (page 846), asserts that it is “unbelief (kufr) to hold that remnant cults now bearing the names of formerly valid religions, such as ‘Christianity’ or ‘Judaism,’ are acceptable to Allah” post-Mohammed. (“Unbelief,” meanwhile, is an act of Islamic apostasy and punishable by death.) Clearly, no devout Muslim can show “appreciation” for the “prayer tradition” of a “remnant cult.” The sharia textbook is definitive about this point, adding: “This is a matter over which there is no disagreement among Islamic scholars.”

Not surprisingly, then, Ebrahim Rasool’s prayer-service statement conveys no interfaith reciprocity. Instead, he presses the need to “embrace our humanity and to embrace faith” -- not “our faiths” (plural). As usual, Islamic “outreach” is a one-way, non-ecumenical street.

But how could it be otherwise, according to Islam’s own teachings? Islamic expert Andrew Bostom notes that the Koranic prayers Muslims recite daily and specifically on Fridays “include, prominently, Koran Suras (chapters) 1, 87 and 88.” Sura 1, verse 7, he notes, is repeated up to 17 times per day by observant Muslims. It calls on Allah to guide Muslims “to the straight path, to the path of those you have blessed, not those who incurred (Your) wrath, nor of the misguided.” The former group (“wrath”) is Jewish; the latter (“misguided”) is Christian.

This is not exactly a “prayer tradition” that encourages the “appreciation” Episcopalians undoutbedly expect...

The closing of the Oxbridge mind. Better not to debate controversies such as abortion   Not for the first time, a college at a top UK university has completely shut down an attempt to organise a balanced debate on abortion.

Are the students running scared of possible credible opposition to their ‘abortion is the answer to everything’ mindset, by closing down all conversation with those who disagree, rather than engaging with it?

Or are they simply unaware (despite being – apparently - among the brightest students in the UK) that by shutting down any views other than their own that they are being both intolerant and utterly illiberal?...

Three parent babies are unsafe, warns top US scientist...‘The gap I’m talking about is about how much pre-clinical scientific work needs to be done before scientists or someone on the FDA would feel comfortable that we’re assured of safety.’

Asked whether it would be justifiable to permit the procedure to go ahead on compassionate grounds, Professor Snyder said it should not be allowed until all the extra research is completed.

He said: ‘We don’t know whether these changes will be passed to future generations.’...

Smile, You’re Speaking Emoji: The rapid evolution of a wordless tongue  ...It’s easy to dismiss emoji. They are, at first glance, ridiculous. They are a small invasive cartoon army of faces and vehicles and flags and food and symbols trying to topple the millennia-long reign of words. Emoji are intended to illustrate, or in some cases replace altogether, the words we send each other digitally, whether in a text message, email, or tweet. Taken together, emoji look like the electronic equivalent of those puffy stickers tweens used to ornament their Trapper Keepers.

And yet, if you have a smartphone, emoji are now available to you as an optional written language, just like any global language, such as Arabic and Catalan and Cherokee and Tamil and Tibetan and English. You’ll find an emoji keyboard on your iPhone, nestled right between Dutch and Estonian. The current set is limited to 722 symbols—these are the ones that have been officially encoded into Unicode, which is an international programming standard that allows one operating system to recognize text from another. (Basically, Unicode is the reason that the text message you send from your iPhone is legible to someone with an Android phone and vice versa.)... 😉

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Prayer in the Facebook Age

by Mark Bauerlein
First Things
At the same time, the more you socialize, the less you follow Jesus into the wilds and prove the psalm’s promise, “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer.” You build your life upon sand, and when the sand shifts, you add more sand . . . and more . . .
This may explain the findings of a recent study showing a correlation between Internet use and religious disaffiliation. Using data from the General Social Survey, computer scientist Allen B. Downey concluded that Internet use accounts for 20 percent (5.1 million people) of overall decreases in religious commitment since 1990. The science is fuzzier than Downey allows, but the trend matches our assumption that more social media means less prayer. People spend fewer minutes alone with God, and, more damaging, they acquire a sensibility less inclined to seek him out.

That disposition has hit most strongly among the young, the heaviest users. To reverse it, my advice to parents, ministers, and other mentors is not to speak to them of God’s greatness and love, nor to assure them, “God is with you always and best felt in solitude.” Young people trust most the evidence of their own experience. So, give them a spiritual exercise to perform before each session of social media begins. When you buy your ­seventeen-­­year-old a new tool, hand your charge three psalms, or the Sermon on the Mount, or the Nicene Creed, and say, “Here is your gift, but you may have it on one condition. When you sit down in Starbucks, before you open the tablet, you must recite these words. When you walk home from school, before you text your friends, you must recite these words. Say them slowly and mean them. It will only take a few minutes. I want your promise.”
the rest image

US Episcopal Church Has Adopted Pro-Muslim, LGBT Agendas

by Breitbart News
17 Nov 2014

Statements by the dean of the National Cathedral as it hosted Muslim prayers on the 100th anniversary of the last Caliph’s call for Jihad against nonbelievers have led to a closer look at the ideology of the Episcopal Church in the United States

As Breitbart News’ National Security Editor Dr. Sebastian Gorka reported, co-organizers of the Muslim prayer event at the Episcopal National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., included the Council on Islamic-American Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), and the All-Dulles Area Muslims Society (ADAMS) Center – all of which have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Breitbart News’ Jordan Schachtel interviewed Gary Hall, dean of the National Cathedral, who said he was not aware that the Muslim prayers took place on the 100th anniversary of the last Caliph’s call for Jihad against nonbelievers, or the infidel.

“I did not know that it was that anniversary,” Hall told Schachtel. “But knowing it now, it actually seems to be more appropriate to have an event that is on an anniversary of a hard time. …There have been atrocities on both sides. There have been extremists on both sides.”

The Episcopal church, as the Huffington Post reported in September, has been leaning leftward for over a decade, with greater emphasis on “diversity,” particularly in the area of human sexuality and now, in its outreach to Muslims. ... the rest (read the comments-wow)
As the Huffington Post reported, though her predecessor, Bishop Frank Griswold, chose not to litigate against parishes that left the church over its new emphasis on sexual “diversity,” Jefferts Schori spent millions of the national church’s funds in litigation against five dioceses, winning most of the legal battles.

Over Jefferts Schori’s term, however, Episcopal church membership has dropped by 12 percent. In 2009, the conservative Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) broke away from the Episcopal church over substantial issues regarding human sexuality and the authority of the Bible.
Woman Who Proclaimed Jesus During Islamic Prayer Service at National Cathedral: I Love Muslims ...Christine Weick, 50, at Washington National Cathedral disrupts first Muslim prayer service Friday afternoon and shouts, "We have built, and allowed you here in mosques across this country. Why can't you worship in your mosque, and leave our churches alone?"...

Monday, November 17, 2014

The place of real prayer...

Sunset at Singita - IMG_2666
The place of real prayer is the Christian's treasure chamber. He is there in the midst of the treasures of grace which God has given him, and it is there that God enriches him more and more; but in the secret place of the Most High where he dwells, he is rich in love, joy, peace, and all the fruits of the Spirit. ...Clarence Dixon image

Church of England formally approves plans for women bishops

17 November 2014

The Church of England has formally adopted legislation which means its first female bishops could be ordained next year.

The amendment was passed with a show of hands at the general synod.

The first women priests were ordained in 1994, but to date they have not been able to take on the Church's most senior roles.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said the move meant the start of "a new way of being the church".

But divisions remain between Anglicans who feel it is consistent with their faith and traditionalists who disagree... the rest

NYT: Major Gain For Women In Church Of England   ...“Today we can begin to embrace a new way of being the church and moving forward together,” the archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, said after the vote...

Church of England allows women as bishops in historic vote  ...The legislation includes some safeguards to manage resistance, including the introduction of an independent reviewer, who will oversee arrangements for parishes who want oversight from a male bishop...

Anglican Unscripted Episode 138

Nov 17, 2014

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

Anglican Communion may be beyond repair says Welby

17 Nov 2014
Author: Justin Welby

During the last eighteen months or so I have had the opportunity to visit thirty-six other Primates of the Anglican Communion at various points. This has involved a total of 14 trips lasting 96 days in all. I incidentally calculated that it involves more than eleven days actually sitting in aeroplanes. This seemed to be a good moment therefore to speak a little about the state of the Communion and to look honestly at some of the issues that are faced and the possible ways forward.

A Flourishing Communion

First of all, and this needs to be heard very clearly, the Anglican Communion exists and is flourishing in roughly 165 countries. There has been comment over the last year that issues around the Communion should not trouble us in the Church of England because the Communion has for all practical purposes ceased to exist. Not only does it exist, but almost everywhere (there are some exceptions) the links to the See of Canterbury, notwithstanding its Archbishop, are profoundly valued. The question as to its existence is therefore about what it will look like in the future. That may be very different, and I will come back to the question.

Secondly, Anglicanism is incredibly diverse. To sit, in the space of a few months, in meetings with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Primate of Australia, the Primate of South Africa, the Moderator of the Church of South India, the Primate of Nigeria and many others is to come away utterly daunted by the differences that exist. They are huge, beyond capacity to deal with adequately in the time for this presentation. Within the Communion there are perhaps more than 2,000 languages and perhaps more than 500 distinct cultures and ways of looking at the world. Some of its churches sit in the middle of what are literally the richest parts of the globe, and have within them some of the richest people on earth. The vast majority are poor. Despite appearances here, we are a poor church for the poor. Many are in countries where change is at a rate that we cannot even begin to imagine. I think of the man I met in Papua New Guinea who is a civil engineer and whose grandfather was the first of his tribe to see a wheel as a small aircraft landed in a clearing in the forest.

At the same time there is a profound unity in many ways. Not in all ways, but having said what I have about diversity, which includes diversity on all sorts of matters including sexuality, marriage and its nature, the use of money, the relations between men and women, the environment, war and peace, distribution of wealth and food, and a million other things, underpinning us is a unity imposed by the Spirit of God on those who name Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. This diversity is both gift and challenge, to be accepted and embraced, as we seek to witness in truth and love to the good news of Jesus Christ...
the rest at Anglican Ink

"How to Overcome Your Fears" by Queso

Nov 15, 2014

Queso deals with his fear of walking into a room...

An Emergent Episcopalian Shares Some Thoughts; India: Christians Beaten, Jailed; ISIS threatens attacks on US streets...more

Here's What Jonathan Gruber Got Right ...In this view, elites must redeem the country by sinning against democracy. Since politicians are always at least half the creatures of voter stupidity, they must be ruled by an outside, privileged form of knowledge. That’s where Gruber and company come in. In a superficial sense, they are the humble servants of elected officials, merely advising them as to the most likely consequence of their actions. In a deeper, truer sense, they are the real officials, able to exert decisive influence whether Mitt Romney’s or Barack Obama’s name is attached to a policy.

Yet the populist impulse to attack Gruber must be tempered by recognizing he has told us all something we don’t want to hear. If we obscure the significance of Gruber’s remarks in the name of public policy or of social science, we won’t understand how the world that produced him has gone so wrong. To grasp why Gruber is wrong, we must grasp what he gets right.

Although Gruber’s conclusion is unwarranted, his premise is correct: too many Americans are too uneducated, formally and informally, to govern well. Rather than some vague multitude, Gruber suggests two particular kinds of “idiots:” the kind conservatives are more likely to rail against, and the kind liberals are. Both are a problem for anyone who does not subscribe to the kind of abstract faith in democracy that would excuse so much “stupidity.”...

ISIS threatens attacks on US streets in Peter Kassig beheading video Islamic State militants have beheaded another American hostage, Peter Kassig, issuing a video claiming the killing on Sunday and warning the United States they would kill other US citizens "on your streets."...

DEA launches surprise investigation into NFL prescription drug use

India: Christians Beaten, Jailed in Hindu Extremist Attack Four Christians in Maharashtra state, one 70 years old, were released on bail today after more than two weeks in jail, accused of “rioting” when Hindu extremists attacked them and damaged two of their homes.

The incident in Kamseth village, Nasik District in western India began on Oct. 28 when the Hindu extremists told Christians to remit 300 rupees (US$5) for the celebration of the Hindu festival of lights, or Diwali. The Christians submitted half the amount, which the Hindus later angrily returned to them, area church leader Prem Barnabas told Morning Star News...

Albert Mohler: Sexual Orientation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ   I recently addressed a major national conference on “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage” held by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. As expected, the conference was one of the most responsible and edifying meetings yet held of Christians concerned about these issues. This is exactly what would be expected of the ERLC and its leadership. The conference was both helpful and historic. I had the honor of delivering the opening keynote address entitled “Aftermath: Ministering in a Post-Marriage Culture.” The full text of my address will be posted here shortly. Subsequent to the conference, it became clear that the vast coverage of the conference in the national press raised some issues that need to be considered further.

One of these issues is sexual orientation. As I explained in my address, I had previously denied the existence of sexual orientation. I, along with many other evangelicals, did so because we did not want to accept the sexual identity structure that so often goes with sexual orientation. I still reject that notion of sexual identity. But I repented of denying the existence of sexual orientation because denying it was deeply confusing to people struggling with same-sex attraction. Biblical Christians properly resist any suggestion that our will can be totally separated from sexual desire, but we really do understand that the will is not a sufficient explanation for a pattern of sexual attraction. Put simply, most people experiencing a same-sex attraction tell of discovering it within themselves at a very early age, certainly within early puberty. As they experience it, a sexual attraction or interest simply “happens,” and they come to know it...

Not That Kind of Homosexuality?
...Revisionist arguments in favor of same-sex unions do not rest on gay affirming exegetical conclusions as much as they try to show that traditional interpretations of Scripture are unwarranted. That is to say, the only way revisionist arguments make sense is if they can show that there is an impassable distance between the world of the Bible and our world.

Of all the arguments in favor of same-sex behavior, the cultural distance argument is the most foundational and the most common (at least among those for whom biblical authority is still important). Although the Mosaic Law and Paul’s letter to the Romans and the vice lists of the New Testament speak uniformly against same-sex behavior, these texts (it is said) were addressing a different kind of same-sex behavior. The ancient world had no concept of sexual orientation, no understanding of egalitarian, loving, committed, monogamous, covenantal same-sex unions...

Female clerics lined up for bishop selection as Church of England prepares for historic change   A string of senior female priests have been given special training to put them in prime position to become bishops in the Church of England when a historic change in canon law comes into force, the cleric who oversaw the process has disclosed.

The Rt Rev James Langstaff, the Bishop of Rochester, said there had been a major push to ensure that any female candidates interviewed for vacant sees in the coming months have the same chance as their male counterparts, some of whom may have been preparing for the process for years...

An Emergent Episcopalian Shares Some Thoughts about the Church  Many of us in the emergent conversation have left institutional Christianity. We do not trust institutions and are suspicious of hierarchies. Our personal histories and experiences of Christianity are filled with the frustration caused by the disconnect between the truth claims of our religious Christian institutions and their actual lived existence. We have seen how much energy and money is spent in the maintenance of our institutions, instead of the mission of Jesus. Some of us have been traumatized by the church. These reasons, among many others, have caused many of us to leave institutional Christianity. But some of us in the emerging conversation have decided to stay.

I am what has been referred to as a hyphenated Christian, a person who has emerging sensibilities who remains part of the existing institutional church during this cultural upheaval known as the Great Emergence. I have found my spiritual home in the Episcopal Church, and as such, I can be labeled an “Angli-mergent.” Let me be the first to say that my experience isn’t normative. I have friends who have been so traumatized by their church experience that they may never return to the Christian faith let alone any community of Christians. I understand. And besides issues of trauma, some of us will (many already are) strike out and explore the Christian faith outside of any thing resembling established denominations. I have been on a similar trajectory before, and I want to share some thoughts from the hyphenated perspective with the hope that it could further the emerging conversation, while also helping those who are still looking for a spiritual home...sigh

Saturday, November 15, 2014

National Cathedral Holds Friday Muslim Prayers

Jerome Socolovsky
November 14, 2014

Prayer carpets were laid out under the soaring arches of the Washington National Cathedral early Friday for an unprecedented Muslim worship service in one of the best known churches in the United States.

Reverend Gina Campbell welcomed worshippers, declaring the Washington National Cathedral "a place of prayer for all people."

"Let us stretch our hearts and let us seek to deepen mercy for we worship the same God," she told the men and women sitting separately in rows, on the floor before her... the rest

Friday, November 14, 2014

Anglican Unscripted Episode 137

Nov 14, 2014
Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, and Allan bring you news and prospective from around the globe. Please donate at

00:00 Will the real Pope please stand up
and behind the scenes after the credits

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Syracuse-first snow of the season!

I still have many roses blooming mid-November
Shared garden with neighbors
Beautiful holly!
Bush roses
 Dusting of snow on hydrangea blooms
Added: Coral Meidiland groundcover rose bush
(photos by Raymond Dague)
First real snowfall in Syracuse-November 13, 2014
Click to enlarge photos

The rise of Christianity in China


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The rise of Christianity in China; 2014 Supreme Court Roundup; Probe lands on comet...more

Is It Another Great Awakening?
Economist editors John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge shocked the secular West in 2009 by announcing that God Is Back—starting with China, of all places. Here were two epitomes of British reasonableness explaining that Europe was the modern exception in viewing God as dead, an irrational shadow of the past, with its Continent declining in population and power, and the rest of the world resembling America in having religion as a part of their cultural dynamism.

China’s atheistic communist government conceded that its Christian population had doubled to 21 million over the past decade, worshiping in 55,000 official Protestant and 4,600 Catholic churches. The underground church, it’s widely known, was much larger—by foreign estimates perhaps 77 million, which means larger than the Communist Party. A Pew Global Attitudes study found only 11 percent of Chinese saying religion was not important in their lives, compared to 31 percent saying it was very or somewhat important. Indeed, everywhere the authors looked outside their European homeland, religion was booming in the early 21st century world.

Six in 10 Americans today tell Pew pollsters that religion plays a very important role in their lives. Over 80 percent believe in God or some higher power, with only four percent choosing agnosticism and merely two percent atheism. Only eight percent said they did not pray, as against 73 percent who said they prayed at least weekly, while 83 percent said God answered prayers. Sixty-three percent said they belonged to a church. The most recent Pew poll reflected some changes, with a plurality agreeing that gays had a right to marry, but a majority also thinking that homosexuality was sinful. Seventy-two percent agreed religion was “losing influence” in America but 56 percent of these thought that this was a bad thing...

The rise of Christianity in China
As he stood in the hot sun and watched a dozen earth movers smash through the walls of the Sanjiang church, Mr Dai felt a great sadness and also fear – for himself and for the future of his fellow Christians. “There were so many police blocking the road and surrounding mountains. They had cut off power to the whole area and blacked out mobile phone coverage and they were trying to stop anybody coming near,” he says.

By pretending to be part of the demolition crew, Dai managed to get through the outer cordon of riot police and huddle with a small group of believers on a hillside watching the massive building collapse under the onslaught. “Words can’t express how traumatic it was,” says the devout Christian, who had travelled from another parish to join members of the congregation trying to protect the church. “I just kept thinking of Jesus’s words – ‘They know not what they do’ – they don’t realise it but they will surely be judged by God.”...

First Things: 2014 Supreme Court Roundup
...It is a parlous state of affairs when we must depend on the Supreme Court as the bulwark of our most vital natural rights and civil liberties—freedom of religion, freedom of expression and group association, freedom of conscience, the rights to live, to work, and to raise a family. The Court has not always, or even very often, done well on this score. With distressing frequency, it has performed poorly, shortchanging rights plainly written in the Constitution and inventing illegitimate ones nowhere to be found in the text. The Court tends to bow to political pressure and blow with prevailing cultural and popular winds.

Measured by the low standards of the desperate, the Supreme Court’s 2013–14 term was on the whole a spectacularly good one. The term was, if anything, a relief. In the cases that really mattered, the Court reached the right results and gave support to the rights of dissenters, albeit with more equivocation and labor than one might have preferred. The opinions typically were not sweeping, beautiful landmarks. But at least they were not the cataclysms that we have so often come to dread, and see...

Maryland school district to strip references to religious holidays on school calendars

Germany’s Pay to Pray Scheme
...Read the whole thing.  If I were a German Catholic or Protestant, I would be enormously offended by this whole thing. It’s outrageous that if you are a German Catholic who wants to go to confession, the priest will deny it if you haven’t paid the church tax. How is this much different from Johann Tetzel’s indulgence business, selling salvation to Renaissance German Catholics? For that matter, how is this significantly different from simony?...

9 Things You Should Know About Military Chaplains
1. Chaplains have the rank of a military commissioned officer and serve the dual roles of religious leader and staff officer, but do not possess the duties or responsibilities of command. Article 24 of the Geneva Convention identifies chaplains as protected personnel in their function and capacity as ministers of religion. Service regulations further prohibit chaplains from bearing arms and classify chaplains as noncombatants...

Rosetta Probe Touches Down On Speeding Comet
...Scientists cheered and punched the air in the European Space (ESA) control room when they received confirmation that the Philae lander was sending signals from the comet.

ESA Director-General Jean-Jacques Dordain told a delighted audience: "This is a big step for human civilisation."

Staff at the Lander Control Center 300 million miles away in Cologne said information they were receiving suggested the probe had made a "soft, gentle" landing...

Mormon Leaders Admit Church Founder Joseph Smith Practiced Polygamy ...The essay does not provide a definite number of wives that Smith had, but research Todd Compton said that his studies have determined Smith had was married to at least 33 women. Compton also believes that 10 of his wives were under the age of 20 at the time of marriage; one woman, Helen Mar Kimball was 14 when she married Smith...

Anglican Unscripted Episode 136

Nov 12, 2014
Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, and Allan bring you news and prospective from around the globe. Please donate at

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

National Cathedral to host Muslim prayer co-sponsored by Hamas-linked CAIR and ISNA

By Bp. Julian Dobbs
November 11, 2014

Jihad Watch has alerted us that Washington National Cathedral, known for hosting presidential funerals and other major spiritual services, will for the first time host weekly Muslim prayer services this coming Friday.

The Cathedral, part of the Episcopal Church, has long held high-profile interfaith events, and some mosques hold services in synagogues or churches if they need overflow space. But organizers said Monday that they are seeking to make a statement by having Muslim leaders come and hold their own midday services in such a visible Christian church.

“We want the world to see the Christian community is partnering with us and is supporting our religious freedom in the same way we are calling for religious freedom for all minorities in Muslim countries,” said Rizwan Jaka, a spokesman with the prominent ADAMS mosque in Sterling, one of the co-sponsors of Friday’s prayers. “Let this be a lesson to the world.”  Here at Bp. Julian's blog

Click here to read the entire article from Jihad Watch

Monday, November 10, 2014

Few things are more infectious than a godly lifestyle...

People Watching Sunset
Few things are more infectious than a godly lifestyle. The people you rub shoulders with everyday need that kind of challenge. Not prudish. Not preachy. Just cracker jack clean living. Just honest to goodness, bone - deep, non-hypocritical integrity. ...Chuck Swindoll image

Astronaut - A journey to space


AnglicanTV: Interview with ANiC Bp. Charles Masters

Nov 10, 2014

AnglicanTV interviews Bishop Charles Masters the Diocesan Bishop of the Anglican Network in Canada.

Russian Orthodox meeting for ACNA leaders

10 Nov 2014
by Andrew Gross
Anglican Ink

On November 8, 2014 Archbishop Foley Beach met with Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, Chairman of the Department of External Relations for the Russian Orthodox Church.

The meeting, welcomed by Metropolitan Hilarion at St. Vladimir’s Seminary in Yonkers, New York, was an opportunity to meet Archbishop Beach, as well as continue the ecumenical dialogue between faithful Anglicans in North America and the Orthodox Churches.

Bishop Ray Sutton, Provincial Dean and Dean of Ecumenical Affairs was also present at the meeting, and was encouraged by the extension of ecumenical continuity, “Metropolitan Hilarion was with us when we met together for dialogue at Nashotah House in 2012, at which time he expressed a desire to continue Anglican/Orthodox dialogue through the Anglican Church in North America, and this meeting tonight with Archbishop Beach further encourages the strengthening of ties between the Anglican Church in North America and Orthodox churches in this part of the world.”

Archbishop Beach commented on the meeting, “Metropolitan Hilarion has spent no small amount of time with Anglicans around the world, and over the years he has been a prophetic voice calling the Anglican Church to remain true to the Christian faith in the face of an increasing propensity for cultural accommodation. The conversation tonight was a pleasure, and I look forward to finding the ways in which we might partner for the cause of the Gospel.”

During the meeting, Metropolitan Tikhon of the Orthodox Church in America warmly invited Archbishop Beach to the Orthodox All-American Council meeting in Atlanta, Georgia in July 2015. the rest

Attendance holding steady for the Church of England

Charlie Masters installed as bishop of ANiC

Boko Haram bombs Nigerian school; Younger Generation Faces a Savings Deficit; Virus That Subtly Changes the Brain to 'Makes Humans More Stupid'...more

Boko Haram bombs Nigerian school, many students feared dead  A bomb blast has ripped through a government owned secondary school in Potiskum, Yobe state as students gathered for morning assembly before classes began.

The blast happened at the Government Comprehensive Senior Science Secondary School in Potiskum, Yobe state, as students waited to hear the principal’s daily address.

“The students had gathered for the morning assembly when something exploded in their midst with a thunderous sound at exactly 7:50 am (0650 GMT),” said one teacher, who asked not to be identified...

Muslims Firebomb Kosher Restaurant in Paris

One-fifth of Americans share religious experience online One in five Americans share their religious thoughts and experiences on social networks, and nearly half said they saw someone else post “something about their religious faith” on the Internet, according to a Pew Research Center study on religion and electronic media.

The findings, released Thursday, suggest engagement online or through religious television, radio and music does not replace conventional means of religious participation. Rather, online engagement complements religious traditions, such as going to church.

“Among adults who say they attend religious services at least once a week, 31% report sharing their faith online in the previous week, compared with just 8% of those who seldom or never attend religious services,” the report said...

Scientists Discover a Virus That Subtly Changes the Brain to 'Makes Humans More Stupid' Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Medical School and the University of Nebraska have discovered an algae virus that makes us more stupid by infecting our brains.

The researchers were conducting a completely unrelated study into throat microbes when they realised that DNA in the throats of healthy people matched the DNA of a chlorovirus virus known as ATCV-1.

ATCV-1 is a virus that infects the green algae found in freshwater lakes and ponds. It had previously been thought to be non-infectious to humans, but the scientists found that it actually affects cognitive functions in the brain by shortening attention span and causing a decrease in spatial awareness.

For the first time ever, the researchers proved that microorganisms have the ability to trigger delicate physiological changes to the human body, without launching a full-blown attack on the human immune system....

Younger Generation Faces a Savings Deficit
...Adults under age 35—the so-called millennial generation—currently have a savings rate of negative 2%, meaning they are burning through their assets or going into debt, according to Moody’s Analytics. That compares with a positive savings rate of about 3% for those age 35 to 44, 6% for those 45 to 54, and 13% for those 55 and older.

The turnabout in savings tendencies shows how the personal finances of millennials have become increasingly precarious despite five years of economic growth and sustained job creation. A lack of savings increases the vulnerability of young workers in the postrecession economy, leaving many without a financial cushion for unexpected expenses, raising the difficulty of job transitions and leaving them further away from goals like eventual homeownership—let alone retirement...