Friday, February 27, 2015

An Icon of the Coptic New Martyrs of Libya

 Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Gregory DiPippo

I am sure that all of our readers are aware of the recent massacre in Libya of a group of Egyptian Copts, who were killed for their faith by Islamic terrorists. The Patriarch of Alexandria, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, has officially recognized them as martyrs, and ordered that their commemoration be inserted into the Synaxarium; their feast will be kept on February 15th, the same day as the Presentation of the Lord in the Alexandrian Rite. The title “New Martyr” was originally used in the East for those killed by heretical Christian rulers, but has subsequently been extended to all those who received the crown of martyrdom under various kinds of tyranny... the rest/image

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Anglican Unscripted Episode 162

Feb 24, 2015

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

Monday, February 23, 2015

The media's dangerous diversions; DHS says right wing extremists bigger threat than Islamic terrorists...More

Since Jan. 1, 'We Have Had More Than 20,000 People Come Across the Border' ..."Already this calendar year, since January 1, we have had more than 20,000 people come across the border, apprehended, unauthorized. And so we have an ongoing problem on the border that Congress must step up and solve."...

Feds send wrong tax info to 800,000 ObamaCare customers  The Obama administration ’fessed up Friday to another monumental ObamaCare blunder, revealing that it sent the wrong tax information to 800,000 customers who signed up on the federal health exchange.

The mistake covered 20 percent of those who enrolled in 37 states and came as especially bad news to 50,000 who have already completed their tax returns.

Those individuals will now have to refile.

The tax returns of the other 750,000 are on hold until they can get corrected data...

ISIS and the Missing Christ ...Whenever I hear someone announce that “All religions are a path to God!” I wonder how it would work if you applied such “tolerance” to, say, medicine or science. “All medicines are a path to health! You take antibiotics, I cut the head off a chicken and dance under the full moon, really what’s the difference as long as we both believe it will make us well?” Or “All science is a path to progress! You invent an iPhone, I invent a weaponized disease, it’s all science, man, it’s all great!”

When you put it this way, it becomes clear that the idea that all religions are equally worthwhile is essentially an atheist creed. To say All religions are a path to God is really saying, No religion is a path to God. There is no God, so what difference does your religion make? When something is true, when it is factual, when it is real, it excludes other options. The world can’t be both flat and round. When you accept the roundness of it, you can no longer entertain its flatness. It’s one or the other.

If God is the Christian God of love, he is not the Allah of Isis...

ISIS releases chilling video showing children as young as FIVE being trained for battle  Islamic State have released a slickly-edited propaganda video showing boys as young as five being indoctrinated at a military-style training camp for 'cubs'...

The Rise of the Child Terrorist   ...The exploitation of children by terrorist groups is not new, but groups such as ISIS, Boko Haram, and the Pakistani Taliban are increasingly using children to carry out their activities. The move is strategic as it is shocking. It provides heightened media attention and allows terrorist groups to groom more loyal members. Children are easier to indoctrinate and less likely to resist, since they do not yet fully understand their own mortality. Moreover, because children appear less suspicious, using them often leads to more successful missions. On the other hand, the use of children may also indicate that the group is having difficulty in recruiting adults—the fact that Boko Haram has kidnapped children to use them as suicide bombers may be an indication of the group’s weakness, not its strength...

Of Course: DHS Report Warns of ‘Domestic Right-Wing Terror Threat’ ahead of foreign Islamists  ... A survey last year of state and local law enforcement officers listed sovereign citizen terrorists, ahead of foreign Islamists, and domestic militia groups as the top domestic terror threat...

The media's dangerous diversions
...It seems as though the last 22 months of the Obama presidency will be spent studiously ignoring the worldwide collapse in American power and prestige and the concurrent escalation in the threat to our allies and ourselves. The steep decline in our defense spending as a percentage of our GDP, the slashing of our Navy and downsizing of our Army and Marine Corps, and the almost volcanic incoherence from official spokespeople spread across the executive branch is without precedent.

Some world powers collapse. Others are eclipsed slowly or with a steady march into the shadows of history. Our roll down the hill of greatness may be the first to have been treated so frivolously as to avoid even sustained comment because pop culture was so much more diverting.

Feb 10, 2015

What do you get when you take off a Bratz doll's makeup? Meet the people who are changing the face of girls' toys.

A.S. Haley: Annual Litigation Survey for the Episcopal Church (USA) 2015

February 22, 2015

It is a fact well known to certain Episcopalians—both those who have left the Episcopal Church (USA) and those who have remained—that ECUSA and its dioceses have followed a pattern of suing any church that chooses to leave for another Anglican jurisdiction. But the full extent of the litigation that has ensued is not well known at all, either in the wider Church, or among the provinces of the Anglican Communion. (Otherwise -- one would think -- it would never have been deemed to be conduct to be rewarded by this honorary degree, rather than this one.)

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

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

Note also that in accordance with the policy of those Presiding Bishops who preceded the current one (whose term began in November 2006), the Episcopal Church (USA) did not voluntarily get involved in property disputes between parishes and their dioceses. The great majority of cases below in which ECUSA was or is a party stem from 2007 and afterwards.

List here

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Anglican Unscripted Episode 161 - Judge Spanks Episcopal Church

Feb 22, 2015

Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Each Episode Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe. Please Donate!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Leave it all...

十字架 Cross
Leave it all in the Hands that were wounded for you.
...Elisabeth Elliot image

The Coming of Medical Martyrdom

by Wesley J. Smith

Hippocratic-believing professionals, such as faithful Catholics and Muslims, are increasingly being pressured to practice medicine without regard to their personal faith or conscience beliefs. This moral intolerance is slowly being imbedded into law. Victoria, Australia, for example, legally requires all doctors to perform—or be complicit in—abortions: If a patient requests a legal termination and the doctor has moral qualms, he is required to refer her to a colleague who will do the deed.

Such laws are a prescription for medical martyrdom, by which I mean doctors being forced to choose between adhering to their faith or moral code and remaining in their profession. Some have already suffered for their beliefs. During a speaking tour of Australia in 2010, I met doctors who had moved from their homes in Victoria to escape the abortion imposition. I asked them what they would do if Victoria’s law were to go national. “Quit medicine,” they all said, or move to another country.

Canada is heading in the same direction regarding euthanasia. Quebec legalized doctor-administered death last year and allows no conscience exemptions along the lines of Victoria’s abortion law. Meanwhile, the Canadian Supreme Court just made access to euthanasia a Charter right for those with a diagnosable medical condition that causes “irremediable suffering,” including “psychological” pain. Recognizing that some doctors will have moral qualms about “terminating life,” the Court gave Parliament twelve months to pass enabling legislation, stating that “the rights of patients and physicians will need to be reconciled” by law or left “in the hands of physicians’ colleges.”

That doesn’t bode well for medical conscience rights. Canada’s medical associations have low regard for conscientious objectors. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan recently published a draft ethics policy that would force doctors morally opposed to providing “legally permissible and publicly-funded health services”—which now include euthanasia as well as abortion—to “make a timely referral to another health provider who is willing and able to . . . provide the service.” If no other doctor can be found, the dissenting physician will have to do the deed personally, “even in circumstances where the provision of health services conflicts with physicians’ deeply held and considered moral or religious beliefs.” ... the rest

A.S. Haley: Quincy Court to TEC: “Plaintiffs Won—Quit Your Bad-Faith Maneuvers...Now!”

February 21, 2015

On Friday, the trial court judge in the Quincy case issued a strongly worded order to TEC and its attorneys that began with these words:
“Although we thought the following conclusion was clear from our [earlier] determination, we will make it clear now: plaintiffs won.”
It seems that TEC’s attorneys, ever since they lost the case on appeal (and the Illinois Supreme Court rejected their petition for review), have been trying to prevent the plaintiff Anglican Diocese and its Bishop Alberto Morales from enjoying access once again to the bank funds which TEC’s attorneys had caused to be frozen (by writing a threatening letter to the bank) some six years ago. They sent a new letter to the same bank on December 30, claiming that nearly $800,000 of the funds on deposit actually belonged to one of the Quincy parishes, and not to the Diocese itself. They pointed out that there was still a lawsuit pending against that parish (and 14 others) in Peoria.

The bank dutifully froze the funds again, and the Diocese’s attorneys went to the trial court for relief. Yesterday, that court granted their motions—and awarded them sanctions against TEC.

Here are some excerpts from the Order:
This controversy has always been about a single account ... which contained a variety of funds held at PNC Bank. This is how the case was tried at the trial level, this is how the case was presented at the appellate level and this was the posture of the case as presented for the Petition for Leave to Appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Only after losing at the trial and appellate level, and then being turned down by the Supreme Court of Illinois, does TEC now claim that a lesser amount should be carved out of this single account. Moreover, TEC brings an action in Peoria County claiming the same thing and goes further to argue that this court has no “jurisdiction” to decide this issue.

... It appears to this court that this is an “after the fact” attempt to recover some of the funds. They took an “all or nothing” approach at trial and on appeal.

The order of October 9, 2013 expressly denied all of TEC’s claims, awarded the entire account to the Plaintiffs and specifically denied any of TEC’s claims for an “accounting”.

TEC filed no motion to reconsider, no motion to correct the judgment, no motion of any type whatsoever to support the contention it now makes in their Response. It now claims that a portion of the single account was, ” ... never the subject matter of this case nor adjudicated in this court’s October 9, 2013, Final Order and Judgment. .. “
the rest

Friday, February 20, 2015


February 20, 2015

Today, my Christmas cactus, which did not bloom anywhere near Christmas this past year, now has put forth its first blossom-with more coming. It makes me long even more for spring, although this iron-cold weather doesn't give much hope that it will be anytime soon.

Today is also an important day for another reason. Raymond is closing on our very own building for  Church of the Holy Trinity.  It has been a long journey these past seven years. Seven different places-many which opened up at the last minute when we had to move. Wonderful clergy and pastors from around the city who have supported us in many ways. Bishop Bena who first took us under his wing and then Bishop Dobbs faithfully shepherding and encouraging us. We were privileged to host at least seven ordinations through the years (we would joke about changing our name to "Church of the Ordination").

Even though we are going on eight years out, we are just beginning in many ways. There's is a lot of renovation to be done to the building which will take a while, but praise God, it is usable as is right now. Our main focus however will be about reaching beyond these walls to proclaim the Gospel to our community. In the midst of the chaos of this world, we want to be a light on a hill, a place of love and peace and sanity which is found only in Jesus.

Pray for us as we venture forth!

Pat Dague

The Two Shall Become One Flesh: Reclaiming Marriage

by Evangelicals and Catholics Together
March 2015

The crisis of marriage culture in our times now poses a direct and fundamental challenge to the very nature of marriage. By redefining marriage to allow a union between two persons of the same sex—Spouse 1 and Spouse 2—a kind of alchemy is performed, not merely on the institution, but on human nature itself. In such a world, the distinction between men and women is denied social recognition and marriage is no longer a unique bond uniting male and female. It becomes an instrument created by the state to give official status to the relationship between two generic human beings.

In these circumstances, what the state defines as marriage no longer embodies God’s purposes in creation. An easy acceptance of divorce damages marriage; widespread cohabitation devalues marriage. But so-called same-sex marriage is a graver threat, because what is now given the name of marriage in law is a parody of marriage.

We are today urged to embrace an abstract conception of human nature that ignores the reality of our bodies. Human beings are no longer to be understood as either male or female. Our culture encourages us to exalt our personal desires and choices over the created order. Instead of freely accepting God’s gift, we seek to dominate (and even alter) nature, constructing our own moral truths. The result is a deceptive pseudo-freedom that degrades our ­humanity. Genuine freedom is found in ­obedience to God’s order: in freely choosing, as a matter of grace and moral habit, what is good and what makes for true beatitude.

No one should doubt or deny what is at stake here. To sustain the fiction of same-sex marriage, the natural family must be deconstructed. Birth certificates will no longer list “father’s name” and “mother’s name” but “Parent 1/Parent 2,” a change already made on certificates issued in some jurisdictions that recognize same-sex marriage. In this brave new world, the family—the institution on which our social order rests—is being redefined as a socially constructed unit, constituted by our sovereign will, not by nature itself. And if a “family” is anything I want or choose it to be, the corrosive individualism that already leaves too many people lonely and disconnected in twenty-first-century Western society is intensified... the rest

Thursday, February 19, 2015

We lift our hearts to God...

Rosette nebula
What a lofty, all-encompassing business prayer is! We lift our hearts to God, and we discover we have joined a numberless company around the world and in heaven itself! We have left time and moved into eternity! We have, in a sense, shed our mortal bodies and moved, ahead of schedule, into our future glory with Him! ...Anne Ortlund image

Egypt: Christian man murdered “only because he was a Copt”; •Texas Supreme Court blocks same-sex marriage licenses...more

Texas Supreme Court blocks same-sex marriage licenses ...In a statement, Gov. Greg Abbott said the "Texas Constitution defines marriage as consisting 'only of the union of one man and one woman' and was approved by more than three-quarters of Texas voters. I am committed to ensuring that the Texas Constitution is upheld and that the rule of law is maintained in the State of Texas."...

LA hospital warns 179 patients possibly exposed to 'superbug'  A large Los Angeles teaching hospital has told scores of patients they were possibly exposed to a drug-resistant bacterial "superbug" during endoscopy procedures that infected seven patients and may have contributed to two deaths.

The 179 patients who may have been infected by the carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, are being offered home testing kits that would be analyzed by the University of California, Los Angeles, hospital system, UCLA officials said...

One in three Dutch doctors would kill patients with dementia in assisted suicide  According to a new study, one in three Dutch doctors would be willing to help someone with early dementia, mental illness, or who is ‘tired of living’ commit suicide. This statistic was revealed after researchers canvassed the views of 2500 randomly targeted family doctors and specialists in the fields of elderly care, cardiology, respiratory medicine, intensive care, neurology and internal medicine between October 2011 and June 2012...

Electric car benefits? Just myths  
It is time to stop our green worship of the electric car. It costs us a fortune, cuts little CO2 and surprisingly kills almost twice the number of people compared with regular gasoline cars.

Electric cars' global-warming benefits are small. It is advertised as a zero-emissions car, but in reality it only shifts emissions to electricity production, with most coming from fossil fuels. As green venture capitalist Vinod Khosla likes to point out, "Electric cars are coal-powered cars."...

President Who Said America is 'No Longer a Christian Nation' Says Islam is 'Woven into the Fabric of Our Country.' 

Egypt: Another Christian man murdered in cold blood “only because he was a Copt” ...In front of his family, they went up to the Coptic man and shot him several times in the head, killing him—but only after they had plundered the family and home. According to the slain man’s wife, her husband was murdered “only because he was a Copt [i.e., Christian].”...

Christian Florist Who Refused Gay Wedding Found Guilty of Discrimination A Washington woman who refused to make flower arrangements for a gay wedding in 2013 has been found guilty of discrimination.

Christian Today reports that Barronelle Stutzman, who operated Arlene’s Flowers, refused to provide the floral arrangements for Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed’s wedding because her Christian beliefs prevented her from doing so in good conscience. After two years of legal proceedings, Stutzman was found guilty of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Stutzman will be likely fined, though the damages sought by the couple will be determined at a later date...

Anglican Unscripted Episode 160

Feb 18, 2015

Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Each Episode Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe. Please Donate!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Let us therefore without ceasing hold fast by our hope...

Face of Suffering 21
Let us therefore without ceasing hold fast by our hope and by the earnest of our righteousness, which is Jesus Christ who took up our sins in His own body upon the tree, who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth, but for our sakes He endured all things, that we might live in Him. Let us therefore become imitators of His endurance; and if we should suffer for His name’s sake, let us glorify Him. For He gave this example to us in His own person, and we believed this. ...Polycarp image

Bishop Julian Dobbs: Lenten teaching Part I

LENTEN SERIES- DOBBS -HADES-Part from Julian Dobbs on Vimeo.
Posted February 18, 2015
Ash Wednesday

Monday, February 16, 2015

Anglican Unscripted-Episodes 158 and 159

Feb 11, 2015

Feb 16, 2015

Archbishop Beach on the martyrs of Libya
16 Feb 2015   
Foley Beach
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

~ John 12:23-25

In an effort to support their families, 21 Christian men from Egypt left their country to find work rebuilding Libya. Over the last twenty four hours, the story of their kidnapping and martyrdom on the shores of North Africa has now made its way around the world.

My friend and colleague, Archbishop Mouneer Anis of Egypt, who prayed over me at my investiture, has today written to his people about these events. I ask that you to join me in praying with them: 

“…for peace in Libya, Egypt, and the entire Middle East. Please pray the international community will act in wisdom, correctly and efficiently, and support Egypt in its war on terror. Please pray the churches of Egypt will comfort their sons and daughters, encouraging them to resist fear and hatred. And please pray for the perpetrators of this terrible crime, that God would be merciful to them and change their hearts.”
I commend to you his whole letter which can be read here.

It was also from the shores of North Africa that Tertullian recognized that, “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” As we pray for the persecuted today, we do not need to go far to find a contemporary example of how God has built his Church through suffering. It is 38 years to the day that Archbishop Janani Luwum of Uganda was killed for his faith. His death was not broadcast to the world, and yet today he is being celebrated in Uganda as model of faithfulness in the face of tyranny.

Please join me in mourning with the families of the 21 Egyptian Christians who gave their lives for Christ, and please join me in prayerful expectation for what the Lord may be preparing to do in North Africa.

The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach
Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America

Friday, February 13, 2015

Sudanese Army Accused of Mass Rape in Darfur; From Campus Bullies to Empty Churches;

Sudanese Army Accused of Mass Rape in Darfur Sudanese army soldiers raped more than 200 women and girls in a methodical attack in Darfur last October, Human Right Watch has charged in a report released Wednesday.

Jonathan Loeb, author of the organization’s 48-page report, said its investigation found that at least 221 women and girls were raped during a 36-hour attack in the north Darfur town of Tabit.

The attack “included looting of property, beating of men and women, and the mass rape of dozens, if not hundreds, of women and girls,” Loeb said...

Boko Haram Attacks Prompt Nigeria to Delay Feb. 14 Elections

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Donates $992 Million to Charity Funding Planned Parenthood ...Donations were earmarked under broad terms such as “health,” “supporting families,” and “building community.” The annual donations to Planned Parenthood have almost doubled from 2011, when the SVCF report shows that SVCF gave close to $250,000.

Although Zuckerberg hasn’t publicly commented on the programs their gift will support, he did say their philanthropy would focus on children. Zuckerberg and his wife have every right to spend their money as they see fit. I’m grateful that they are donating to assist children in need. I only hope none of their funds will end up in the big pockets of Planned Parenthood...

Planned Parenthood pushes abortion on pregnant women 94% of the time

Onondaga County Officials Worried About Surge of Syphilis Cases  ...In 2008 just three cases of syphilis were reported in the county, but by 2011 that number rose to 14, and last year 56 cases were diagnosed. Experts say one cause locally and nationwide could be the increased use of social media for anonymous sex. And they say while people may feel safe if they're using a condom, that's not necessarily true.

"With syphilis you have an opportunity to still attain an infection even if you're using a condom, because of the cankers and where they're located, so if you come in contact with the lesion you have a really high risk of acquiring syphilis," said ACR Health Prevention director Erin Bortel.

It can be cured if caught early, but the disease can have devastating consequences if allowed to progress. Experts hope a new rapid screening test, just recently approved by the FDA to be used in non-clinical settings, can help the diagnosing process, in the office and beyond...

From Campus Bullies to Empty Churches  ...The intimidation varies from one campus to another, from one department to another, and from one protest to another. But while the decibels of ferocity may change, the negative posture toward religious believers ­themselves—or for that matter toward anyone who finds anything of value in the Judeo-Christian tradition and bothers to defend it—remains the same. And once more, Occam’s razor would suggest a causal connection here.

Students, like any other human beings, cannot help being sensitive to atmospherics. Let’s think again of the new force that drives a CEO out of his post for having donated to defend traditional marriage. If the new intolerance can penalize an “alpha” like him so dramatically, how much more menacing must it be to people just starting out, whose futures and livelihoods depend so heavily on the opinion of their peers?

 Sometimes, interestingly enough, the very incivility of the new intolerance backfires.
A friend with a son at an overwhelmingly progressive college said recently that the experience of sitting through one particular class had turned that student toward conservatism. Why? Because as a white male known also to be heterosexual, he was singled out repeatedly for second-class social treatment by the ­professor—no matter what his bona fides otherwise. He has become, in virtue of the new intolerance, what might be called a political counter-convert...

Albert Mohler: Fifty Shades of Shame — The Evolution of Pornography

February 13, 2015

The explosive sales of the Fifty Shades book series alerted many Christians to the fact of female-oriented pornography. While far more attention had been devoted to the visual nature of most male-oriented pornography, the Fifty Shades phenomenon underlined the public mainstreaming of pornography that would find a primary audience among women — narrative pornography in book form.

While many had noted the attraction of so-called “romance novels” to many women, the arrival of the Fifty Shades series announced that the culture at large was ready to shift to what can only be described as explicitly pornographic. Furthermore, the plot line of the series, now quite well known in the larger society, is devoted to forms of sexuality that had historically been defined as perverse and abusive.

The lost sense of shame is not only documented in the unprecedented sales of the series in book form, but also by the mainstream celebration of the movie.

A culture that is determined to reduce all sexual morality to the issue of adult consent is now ready to eat popcorn while watching the corruption of the gift of sex and, in effect, granting approval to the vision of sexuality that is the film’s very essence.

This next stage in the evolution of pornography combines, in an unprecedented way, male-oriented visual pornography with female-oriented narrative pornography. The movie is being marketed on Valentine’s Day as an adventure for couples — something offered to both men and women.

That something is a lie. The late U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan spoke of our tendency to “define deviancy down.” That is one of the marks of our age. The Fifty Shades movie will not be legally defined as obscenity or pornography. In our age, almost nothing is. But biblically speaking, there can be no question about the fact that the Fifty Shades phenomenon is explicitly pornographic — defined in the New Testament by the Greek word porneia — which refers directly to any illicit sexual impulse or act. Pornography, whatever its form, is intended to produce that wrongful sexual impulse.  the rest

The Real Abuse at the Heart of 'Fifty Shades of Grey'
...While there have been several well-rendered and moving depictions of abuse in media, all of these recognize domestic violence as a cardinal sin; none are as bafflingly oblivious as Fifty Shades of Grey. The marketing for the film is sickening: posited as “an incredible fairytale love story,” encouraged as a date-night movie, and set to release just in time for Valentine’s Day, Fifty Shades barrels ahead without an ounce of self-awareness—or, perhaps, of conscience. The abusive behaviors are treated as adorably flirtatious interaction; here, domestic violence is met with the enthusiastic approval of the story’s protagonists.

The message is clear: by turning these same behaviors around to market them as “romance,” this film effectively silences the experience of millions of victims of abuse. She might not think that she likes being mistreated, it says, but in the end, isn’t it what she really wanted? Christian Grey can do no wrong, so the fault must lie squarely on the shoulders of the 21-year-old college student in a relationship with a rich older man...

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A.S. Haley: How to Make a Church Even Less Relevant

February 9, 2015

General Convention 2009 began to undermine the authority of the BCP when it authorized its Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to develop “theological and liturgical resources for the blessing of same gender relationships” (Res. 2009C056; emphasis added)—all the while pretending that no changes were being made to traditional marriage as celebrated in the BCP. In response to its work, General Convention 2012 commended . . . for study and use in congregations and dioceses” certain rites for the “Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant in a same-sex relationship” (Res. 2012A049; emphasis added).

Do you see the subtle word games going on to this point? God forfend that General Convention should be doing anything to alter marriage as such; all it is purporting to do is to develop some experimental liturgical rites to celebrate “same-sex relationships”.

But now look at what has happened. The General Convention’s Task Force on the Study of Marriage has proposed to revise Canon I.18 (“On Marriage”). I’m not going to reproduce all of the proposed changes here; you can see them for yourself, at pp. 4-6 of the document at the link just given. Just notice, if you will, that as the title goes, so goes the Canon—the title is changed from “Of the Solemnization of Holy Matrimony” to “Of the Celebration and Blessing of Marriage.” The words “Holy Matrimony” are removed from Sections 1, 2 and 3, so that the Canon (if amended) will speak only to “marriage” as such; and no longer to what is defined by the Book of Common Prayer as “the union of a man and a woman.”

And what is the significance of that change? Seemingly it is rather subtle on the surface, but beneath the surface it runs very deep, into the heart of the Church.

To see just how, consider who reads the canons: practically no one, until a matter of clergy discipline surfaces. Lay people, and even many clergy, are ignorant of the Canons. (For example, no less than the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Maryland recently called for Suffragan Bishop Heather Cook to submit her resignation—but she couldn’t ask to resign, even if she wanted to. She is the subject of a Title IV disciplinary proceeding, and Canon III.12.8 (b) prohibits the Presiding Bishop from considering or acting upon any such request to resign until “the disciplinary matter shall have been resolved ...”.)

People who sit in the pews, however, are familiar with the Book of Common Prayer, and use it at least every Sunday. The proposed change in Canon I.18 would remove, as far as marriage is concerned, the last remaining link between the BCP that every Episcopalian knows and uses and the governing documents of the Church. The rites which General Convention 2012 purported to “commend” (not, please note, “authorize”—only the BCP and the Ecclesiastical Authority may authorize rites in a diocese) to the Church are not part of the BCP, and cannot become so until the procedures have been duly followed to amend the BCP... the rest
The undermining of traditional marriage will, if this proposed change passes, be just about complete. The pewsters will think that nothing has changed, because their BCPs haven’t changed. But for those who want to transform ECUSA into a secular adjunct of today’s society, nothing more will remain to be done. They won’t have to amend the BCP, because they have their special rites which individual bishops are already allowing to be celebrated.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Anglican Unscripted Episode 157

Feb 9, 2015

Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Each Episode Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe. Please Donate!

Albert Mohler: The President at the Prayer Breakfast

February 10, 2015

President Obama identifies openly with a very liberal version of Christian thinking and reasoning. He cites religious concerns from time to time, but he seems to operate more as a secular cosmopolitan. When he does address religious thoughts openly, as at the National Prayer Breakfast last week, he made a considerable mess.

That he holds to a universalistic understanding of religion is not in doubt. President Obama spoke of faith, of his own “faith journey,” and “professions of faith.” The common denominator in his thinking seems to be faith as an act without any concern for the content or object of that faith. Thus, “part of what I want to touch on today is the degree to which we’ve seen professions of faith used both as an instrument of great good, but also twisted and misused in the name of evil.”

When people do evil in the name of faith, the President asserted, it is because the faith has been perverted or distorted. Any faith can be perverted in this way, Mr. Obama said, and no religion is inherently violent. In his words: “Our job is not to ask that God respond to our notion of truth — our job is to be true to Him, His word, and His commandments. And we should assume humbly that we’re confused and don’t always know what we’re doing and we’re staggering and stumbling towards Him, and have some humility in that process. And that means we have to speak up against those who would misuse His name to justify oppression, or violence, or hatred with that fierce certainty. No God condones terror. No grievance justifies the taking of innocent lives, or the oppression of those who are weaker or fewer in number.”

The fact remains that Western civilization — and much of the world beyond — is directly threatened by a militant form of Islam that has the allegiance of millions of Muslims. While the vast majority of Muslims in the world are not fighters in a jihad against the West, and for that we must be thankful, the fact remains that the President’s own national security authorities directly disagree with the President when he recently said that “99.9 percent” of Muslims do not back Islamic terrorism.
 the rest image
And yet, at virtually every turn, President Obama and his administration remain determined not to mention Islam in any negative light, and even to redefine some acts of terror committed in the name of Islam as “workplace violence.” His refusal to acknowledge the worldview of those who declare themselves to be our enemies is neither intellectually honest nor safe. It is a theological disaster, but it is a foreign policy disaster as well.

Friday, February 06, 2015

United Methodists and Episcopalians Mark “Waystation” to Full Communion

February 6, 2015

Officials from the United Methodist Church and Episcopal Church have joined together at the Washington National Cathedral to mark an agreement bringing the two oldline Protestant denominations closer together.

“Today as Episcopalians and United Methodists, we remember who we are kin too. We celebrate our family tree and our common roots in the Lord Jesus Christ,” proclaimed the Rev. Dr. Kim Cape, General Secretary of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church.

Cape gave the January 25 sermon at the Episcopal cathedral, declaring the day “historic” and that the two communities were acting “to mend a long division.”... the rest

Christian life in the age of Facebook and Twitter; It's Time for the Church to Grow Up...

It's Time for the Church to Grow Up
...We tend to think that maturity means perfection. But the New Testament clearly teaches that spiritual maturity is different from heavenly perfection. Spiritual maturity is presented (in passages like Heb. 5, Eph. 4, and 1 Cor. 3) as foundational in the Christian life. But our popular theology says things like, “We’re all just sinners saved by grace.” True enough, but that can start to sound like what Dallas Willard called “miserable sinner Christianity”: that no progress can be expected in this life...

...But this desire for digital connectivity is fueled by something else: the triggering of reward centers in our brains. In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science that involved analysis of brain scans, researchers concluded that self-disclosure—the activity behind such things as Facebook status updates and tweets—arouses our central reward center, dispensing dopamine, the neurotransmitter whose effects are amplified by stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine. Consequently, some people turn to social media for this stimulation. “Humans so willingly self-disclose,” the authors write, “because doing so represents an event with intrinsic value, in the same way as with primary rewards such as food and sex.” Another study found that getting Facebook “likes” gives us the same neurological response. In an article in The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Daria Kuss and Mark Griffiths found that “extraverts appear to use social networking sites for social enhancement, whereas introverts use [them] for social compensation, each of which appears to be related to greater usage,” and “may be indicative of potential addiction.”...

...Beyond neurological stimulation, such compulsive behaviors are driven by the pursuit of “micro-celebrity.” In her book Camgirls: Celebrity and Community in the Age of Social Networks, Theresa Senft defines micro-celebrity as “a new style of online performance in which people employ webcams, video, audio, blogs and social networking sites to ‘amp up’ their popularity among readers, viewers, and those to whom they are linked online.” It is, as Senft asserts, a way of crafting one’s persona so as to make oneself irresistible to others. In Paul VI’s time, preoccupations with consumerism were thought to do the same. Today, however, this behavior is not limited to traditional conceptions of who is and who is not a celebrity, and virtually anyone can develop an audience online....

China Less and Less Enamored of Social Media, Study Finds
  ...But tighter management wasn’t the only reason social media was declining in popularity.

“Social media has penetrated into the lives of Chinese people and they now realize they are spending too much time on it,” said Sophie Shen, who led the Kantar poll, in a statement. “At the same time, they are receiving more low-quality and duplicate content.”

The No. 1 worry brought about by social media use, according to the survey, was reduced time reading books. Reduced privacy, sleep deprivation and worsening eye-sight were other concerns.

Overuse of the Internet is a common topic of conversation in China. The world’s second-largest economy has had a steady stream of dismal, and sometimes gory, accounts of Internet addiction, such as the recent one of a teen who evidently chopped off his hand (in Chinese) in an effort to stay off the web...

Judge Finds Christian Bakers Guilty of Discrimination, Fines May Put Company Out of Business  ...The Kleins could be forced to pay up to $200,000 for refusing the service. The couple now awaits a hearing March 10 to determine the exact amount they must pay. Christian News Network reports that the couple said last October that a high fine would “definitely” cause the family to declare bankruptcy...

Surrogacy motherhood: the European Court of Human Rights ratifies the sale of children

Anti-Semitic attacks more than double in UK

The march of the new political correctness I wonder how many of you know that you’re cis. Not very many, I’m guessing. So let me break this gently. You are almost certainly cis. It is short for ‘cisgendered’, which means that you ‘identify’ with the gender you were assigned at birth. To put it in everyday language, you were born male and are still male, or were born female and are still female...

Fox to Air Show About Lucifer?  
...In the DC comic book series, Lucifer was modeled after David Bowie and ran a piano bar. God isn't portrayed all that well (as if you couldn't guess.)

Here's the thing, the thing most people like about comic book characters is that for all their moral grayness, in the end they stand up against evil. I've read some people are comparing it to the comic turned television show Constantine. But in the end of that show every week, John Constantine, usually attempts to makes the right decision and tends to be willing to sacrifice himself for others. Gives the audience someone to root for.

Now, as Milton proved, it's perfectly believable that an artist could portray a story including Satan that could be interesting, engaging, and not blatantly anti-Christian. But I'm suspecting that's not what we're going to get from the creator of Californication which was criticized for attempting to use nuns for a sexual punch line...

A.S. Haley: South Carolina Decision Is Full Vindication for the Victims of ECUSA’s Oppression

February 5, 2015

Circuit Judge Diane S. Goodstein’s carefully crafted 46-page decision in the case brought by Bishop Mark Lawrence’s Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina (along with 35 of its parishes, plus St. Andrew’s, Mt. Pleasant) against the Episcopal Church (USA) and its rump group (ECSC, or “Episcopal Church in South Carolina”) is a complete vindication of the positions taken and arguments advanced for so long, by so many, inside and outside the Church.

It is a vindication first, for the Right Reverend Mark Lawrence and his legal team, who conceived the winning strategy, assembled and put on all the evidence, wrote all the briefs, argued all the appeals, fought back in the federal courts, and at last brought ECUSA to its day of reckoning.
It is a vindication, as well, of Bishop Lawrence’s pastoral strategies, by which he showed how spiritual leaders can follow and submit themselves to the civil law, while in doing so remain faithful and Biblical counselors and guides for those in their spiritual care. It was Bishop Lawrence who decided on behalf of his Diocese not to appeal the All Saints Waccamaw decision to the U.S.

Supreme Court and run the risk of dividing his parishes still further. It was Bishop Lawrence who accepted responsibility for giving each parish in his Diocese a quitclaim deed in compliance with the holding in All Saints Waccamaw that the Dennis Canon could on its own not create a trust in any property in South Carolina. These decisions led to the accusations of “abandonment” brought against Bishop Lawrence by his detractors, but they were pastorally the right decisions to make under the circumstances. Had ECUSA’s leaders shown a comparable willingness to submit to the everyday requirements of the civil law, the Church would not be where it is today: millions and millions of dollars poorer, with absolutely nothing to show from the squandering of all its trust funds.

It is a vindication of all of the faithful parishioners and clergy in the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina who remained by their Bishop, and provided much-needed financial support, as ECUSA and its minions sought to bring him down by the sheer weight of all the forces they could bring to bear against him and his Diocese...     the rest
As has long been argued on this blog, any restriction which ECUSA tried to put upon the ability of its member dioceses to withdraw would be in violation of the First Amendment, and unenforceable in any civil court in the land.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Anglican Unscripted Episode 156

Feb 5, 2015

Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Each Episode Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe. Please Donate!

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Circuit Court Rules Diocese of SC Keeps Historic Property

ST. GEORGE, SC, Feb. 3, 2015 – In a 46 page opinion, South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Diane S. Goodstein, ruled that The Diocese of South Carolina, The Trustees of the Diocese and 36 parish churches successfully withdrew from The Episcopal Church in 2012 taking with them all their property, including churches, symbols and other assets. The ruling is the result of a three-week trial last summer in which over 50 witnesses testified.

The historic ruling comprehensively resolves the issues surrounding the more than $500 million in property owned by the Diocese and its parishes, which disassociated from the denomination in 2012 after TEC improperly attempted to remove Bishop Mark Lawrence as head of the Diocese.

The judge’s decision found baseless TEC’s claim that it owned the Diocese’s identity and properties.  During the trial, the Diocese demonstrated that it existed long before TEC was established – and that it was one of the dioceses that founded the denomination in 1789.  It also proved that every diocese is free to associate with a denomination of its choosing.

The Court found that “the Constitution and Canons of TEC have no provisions which state that a member diocese cannot voluntarily withdraw its membership.” The ruling found that had there been such a provision, it would have violated the Diocese’s “constitutionally-protected right” to freedom of association. “With the freedom to associate goes its corollary, the freedom to disassociate,” Judge Goodstein said... the rest

Anglican Unscripted Episode 155

Feb 3, 2015

Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Each Episode Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe. Please Donate!

Monday, February 02, 2015

And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple...

“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years. - Malachi 3:1-4 image

Please God, Don’t Let Us Get Audited; An Open Letter from the Child of a Loving Gay Parent...more

Islamic State terror cell in Israel slaughtered sheep as part of training ...According to the indictment, the members of the cell trained in a farm in Kafr Manda owned by the attorney. They learned how to ride horses and how to prepare Molotov cocktails and purchased sheep to slaughter them as part of their training...

Please God, Don’t Let Us Get Audited: IRS Is Scaring The Hell Out Of Churches ...Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, works with churches across the country on how to avoid violating tax laws. He said that fear of the IRS prevents many pastors from speaking their minds on political issues.

The IRS recently said that it currently has 99 churches under high priority investigation, Stanley said.

“The problem with the vagueness of the law is exacerbated by the spotty enforcement, and basically unequal and sometimes selective prosecution that’s gone on,” Stanley told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The IRS will go after certain groups and other groups, but not other groups and there’s no explanation given for why that seems to be that case.”

In the case of Branch Ministries vs. Rossotti, the IRS went after a church that put an ad in USA Today telling Christians not to vote for Bill Clinton. Stanley said that for their defense they submitted hundreds of pages of newspaper articles of churches doing the same thing who were not prosecuted, demonstrating a long history of seemingly arbitrary enforcement...

Challies: Lessons from 50 Shades of Grey
The trailer is smoldering temptingly on computers around the globe. Fans of the book are checking their diaries and booking tickets online. Reviewers are readying their pens and preparing their remarks. In just a few short days 50 Shades of Grey will hit the big screen, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

On one level, this is just another in a long line of films with a storyline that portrays sex and relationships in ways far removed from God’s design. But it is so much more than that. I believe that 50 Shades of Grey can serve as a kind of cultural barometer that alerts us to the colossal changes that have been occurring in recent years, and to the consequences they bring.

So what can the 50 Shades phenomenon teach us today? I teamed up with Helen Thorne, who has written Purity Is Possible: How To Live Free of the Fantasy Trap, and together we prepared 7 lessons from 50 Shades of Grey...

Dear Justice Kennedy: An Open Letter from the Child of a Loving Gay Parent  ... If it is undisputed social science that children suffer greatly when they are abandoned by their biological parents, when their parents divorce, when one parent dies, or when they are donor-conceived, then how can it be possible that they are miraculously turning out “even better!” when raised in same-sex-headed households? Every child raised by “two moms” or “two dads” came to that household via one of those four traumatic methods. Does being raised under the rainbow miraculously wipe away all the negative effects and pain surrounding the loss and daily deprivation of one or both parents? The more likely explanation is that researchers are feeling the same pressure as the rest of us feel to prove that they love their gay friends...

Conger: The Church of England Is Not Dead Yet, The Economist Reports ...The Church of England, like the old man in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, is not dead yet. Granted, it is not at all well. A steady decline of a hundred years or so is not an indicator of health, but a report last week in The Economist shows some signs of life.

The article in the January 17, 2015, print edition entitled London supplies England with wealth, culture—and, increasingly, Christians” reports on the church-planting movement within the Church of England. Unlike many press accounts of the CoE, which predict its imminent demise, the editorial line of The Economist article favors its subject matter.

There is nothing in this story about women bishops, homosexuality, liberal politics, naughty vicars or any of the usual fodder for CoE articles. In some ways I am surprised by this piece, as it could have been printed in a religious newspaper or magazine. The assumptions and attitudes it displays value the church and its mission. Overall this is a very nicely done story, yet I wonder if The Economist could have pushed a bit harder. Were they too respectful?

The article reports on St. Peter’s Church in Brighton and its vicar and his wife, Steve and Jodi Luke, and the remarkable growth the church has experienced...

Madden simulation accurately predicts Super Bowl XLIX score
Madden NFL 15's simulation of Super Bowl XLIX proved to be strikingly accurate.

In the Madden simulation, the Seahawks led 24-14 in the third quarter following a Marshawn Lynch touchdown run, but the Patriots dug deep and came storming back to win 28-24.

Sound familiar?

In the real Super Bowl, the Seahawks also led 24-14 in the third quarter, albeit after a Doug Baldwin touchdown catch. But the Patriots still came back to win 28-24 after a Julian Edelman touchdown catch...