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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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FALLS CHURCH, Va. (May 10, 2012) - As the result of recent court action, The Falls Church Anglican, a congregation of 4,000 worshippers in Falls Church, Va., will soon move out of its historic home as it continues its ministry. Some in the congregation have worshipped on the church campus for more than 60 years, with the original property dating back almost 300 years. While the cost of leaving the property is great, members of The Falls Church Anglican are celebrating as they stand on their orthodox faith and continue to spread the transforming love of Jesus Christ beyond the church walls.
The Falls Church Anglican is being forced to leave its long-time home on May 15 as the result of a judicial ruling rejecting its request for a suspension (authorization to remain on its property during an appeal) of the January 2012 decision and March 2012 Final Order.
“While we are saddened by leaving this Christ-centered place of worship, we rejoice at the outpouring of encouragement and offers of assistance, including furnishings and building space from Presbyterians, Baptists, Catholics and other friends. Through these many blessings, we are equipped with the knowledge that God has great plans in store for our congregation. Ultimately, our passion for spreading the Gospel and reaching the lost will not wane,” said the Rev. Dr. John Yates, rector of The Falls Church Anglican.
According to the Rev.Yates, the challenge has not hindered the congregation in its ministries and missions. “In spite of the litigation since 2006, we have established thriving, independent ‘daughter’ churches in Alexandria, Arlington, Vienna and beyond. We hope to plant our seventh daughter church this year in the District of Colombia. Meanwhile, we have more than 2,000 people in worship and fellowship each Sunday. Also, more than 450 teenagers participate in one of the largest youth programs on the East Coast.”
Junior Warden Carol Jackson added, “For several years we have been experiencing the power of healing prayer in our own congregation and recently began a partnership to extend that ministry in the Baileys Crossroads area, with Columbia Baptist Church and St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church. Together, we minister to the poor and the immigrants among us in the Culmore Clinic. People from all walks of life, all faiths, and all economic situations, now have a safe place to ask for and receive prayer and excellent medical treatment.”
Between 2005 and 2007, The Falls Church Anglican and 14 sister Virginia congregations voted by overwhelming majorities to separate from The Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. The move was taken because the congregations determined that The Episcopal Church had drifted so far from orthodox Christianity that they could not in good conscience remain under its spiritual authority.
“The cost to the congregation has been and will be huge. Locating available worship space for a church of our size and office space for over 100 staff and volunteer ministry leaders remains extremely challenging. In spite of this adversity, we remain steadfast in our decision to take a bold stand for the authority of Scripture,” said Senior Warden Sam Thomsen.
The Falls Church Anglican has remained at the forefront in the formation of orthodox Anglican institutions in North America. Members of the parish have been leaders in the creation of the Anglican Church in North America, the fast growing (nearly 1,000 congregations and 100,000 worshippers) national organization, and the Anglican Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic (38 congregations and nearly 6,000 worshippers each Sunday), in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and the District of Columbia.
“We leave without resentment or acrimony; we pray only the best for those who will follow us in our historic church, that the transforming Good News of Christ will always be proclaimed in this place,” the Rev. Yates concluded.
On Sunday, May 13, The Falls Church Anglican will hold services at its current location, 115 E. Fairfax Street in Falls Church, Va. Services of praise and thanksgiving will also be held later that evening. All are welcome to attend and are invited to future worship services as well. Please check the church website (http://www.TFCAnglican.org) for service times and locations.
[The Falls Church Anglican is a member congregation of the newly established Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic, a regional and growing diocese of the Anglican Church in North America dedicated to reaching North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ. The Diocese consists of 38 member congregations.]
An Orange County Superior Court judge on Thursday ruled in favor of the Episcopal Church in its long-running legal dispute over the rightful ownership of the properties of two congregations that seceded from the church years ago.
Judge Kim Dunning granted a motion for summary judgment filed by the Episcopal Church in its cases against St. David's Anglican Church in North Hollywood and All Saints Anglican Church in Long Beach, declaring the church properties were held in trust for the diocese and national church.
St. David's and All Saints left the six-county Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and the national church in 2004 because of differences over biblical interpretations and liberal views on homosexuality and other issues.
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The Rev. Brian O'Rourke, who oversaw family ministries, was dismissed from the post Thursday. In an open letter to the congregation, the Rev. James R. Mathes said he had worked for several months “regarding various problems” between the rector, the Rev. Lane Hensley, and O'Rourke.
“This relationship has deteriorated to the point where it can no longer be sustained,” Mathes wrote. “After considerable effort and prayer, I have come to the conclusion that for this reason, it is time to end Brian's ministry at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church effective immediately.”
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Ironically, the very freedom Vanderbilt administrators have to make their unfortunate decision derives from a 19th-century Supreme Court case that led to the proliferation of Christian colleges such as Vanderbilt, founded under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1873.
Dartmouth College vs. Woodward originated in 1815, when the Dartmouth Board of Trustees fired the college president, who then appealed to the state legislature for intervention. Having granted Dartmouth's charter in 1769, the New Hampshire legislature revoked it, instead forming the University of Dartmouth and filling its board with state supporters.
Very few students attended the new university, and the original one remained intact with 130 students. It was a diminished institution without state support, but with persecution came blessing—including a "wonderful interest [in Christ]," according to the record of the Dartmouth Theological Society, and the conversion of 60 students.
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The class will please come to order. Our text today is "The Law of Cultural Dominance," formulated by David Kaplan in Cultural Evolution, published fifty-two years ago, and noticed too little since. I find online that I quoted it in a scholarly article in 1977 and noted a couple of other citations through the decades. We happy few who profited from it have an insight which helps explain much in religious change. Here it is: "That cultural system which more effectively exploits the energy resources of a given environment will tend to spread in that environment at the expense of less effective systems."
In the United States, Pentecostals, conservative evangelicals, African American, Latino/Latina Americans, Latter-Day Saints, Korean Protestants, and other prospering religious groups know this Law without having read Kaplan. For one illustration: the energy resources associated with mass media—radio, TV, movies, and now the internet are available to all, but mainly the kind of groups I mentioned have "exploited" them efficiently....
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A statement posted on the Occupy London website on Tuesday said that there would be a “teach-in” at 1 p.m. on Saturday at St Paul’s, “organised by Tent City University, the educational arm of Occupy London. It is aiming at promoting informed political action and exploring viable economic alternatives before we pay a visit to City institutions that caused and continue to profit by the [financial] crisis.”
It said that the global day of action would involve “citizens using peaceful, creative ways to deliver their own messages to the financial and corporate élite of the City”. The protesters would “continue to exercise our right to peacefully assemble in public spaces”.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market Stock Market The Banking System/Sector The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007-- * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Symbolically, Obama's comment to ABC News that "same-sex couples should be able to get married" is an important, even historic, marker of how far public opinion has shifted. No previous president has endorsed gay marriage.
Politically, his declaration injects another hot-button social issue into the presidential race, to uncertain effect. Republican candidate Mitt Romney promptly reiterated his view that marriage "is a relationship between a man and a woman," setting up a sharp contrast for the fall campaign.
But practically, Obama's "evolution" changes little. Marriage remains a state matter. Same-sex marriage is unlikely to become the law of the land any time soon. And polls aside, the idea has yet to catch on where it matters most: with voters.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Politics in General Office of the President President Barack Obama * Theology
The President went on to justify his new definition of marriage with these words: “The thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the golden rule — you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated…” Mr. President, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary was for the sins of the world. Jesus did not die to take away the moral law or the God-given teaching on marriage. He died to redeem us from our inability to keep that law. The Golden Rule is also misapplied in this instance. To redefine marriage in a way that is contrary to God’s word is to do immeasurable harm to one’s neighbor, not good.
On this day after the announcement, we are told that pollsters have now determined that 50% of the country aligns with President Obama’s position on redefining marriage. Whether or not we believe these numbers, it is important to remember that some decisions are not about the majority or what we feel is best. Some decisions are made in eternity and determined by a loving and just God. Some decisions are above our pay grade. And so I say respectfully No, Mr. President.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Parishes * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Politics in General Office of the President President Barack Obama * South Carolina * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
In fact, one of the most striking aspects of Obama’s revelation on Wednesday (May 9) that he and his wife, Michelle, support marriage rights for gays and lesbians, is that he invoked their Christian faith to support his views. In past years, Obama – as many believers still do – had cited his religious beliefs to oppose gay marriage.
Obama told ABC News that he and the first lady “are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it's also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated.”
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Politics in General Office of the President President Barack Obama * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
While appealing to some, this “compromise” is ultimately unhelpful. When a matter is pragmatic and little more, compromise can be the right option to take. Part of growing up is realizing that you can’t and don’t need to get your way all the time.
But when the issue is one of principle and when it involves the clear teaching of Scripture, we cannot take the easy way out and claim that we do not know what we believe without injuring our personal integrity and our corporate witness. And to be honest, everyone knows that removing the clear statement we currently have in the Discipline would not resolve the issue. It is only a first step by those whose ultimate intention is to change the church’s position. And that’s hardly a true compromise.
When the “agree-to-disagree compromise” was defeated in Fort Worth and the historic position of the church was reaffirmed, the charge against those who supported the church’s stance was, “You’re dishonest. We are of divided mind. Why won’t you even allow us to state that we differ?”
It’s a good question. And there’s a very good answer. We United Methodists are divided on practically every issue. But in none of our other statements on matters theological, moral, or cultural do we state that we have agreed to disagree.
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Filed under: * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Methodist Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths) * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland is offering forgiveness and a funeral service for a homeless man who killed himself after fatally shooting a priest and church secretary last week.
Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton and an academic expert on forgiveness likened the diocese's attitude to that of an Amish community in Lancaster County, Pa., that forgave the man who fatally shot five school girls there in 2006.
"That is a painful, hard process," Sutton told The Associated Press after last Thursday's shooting. "But we learned something a few years ago, made manifest by the Amish community, when a gunman came into that school: Eventually, that community went to the family of that murderer and extended forgiveness."
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Violence * Theology Pastoral Theology
South Sudan’s years of conflict were meant to be over when it won its independence from Sudan last July after generations of fighting with the people of the north. But the jubilation quickly faded, and now, not even a year later, after weeks of pointed barbs and border skirmishes, this vast and vastly underdeveloped country is once again mobilizing for war — and asking some of the poorest people on earth to pay for it, with whatever they have at hand....
Sudan and South Sudan have yet to resolve a number of prickly and vital issues, not least of which is how to demarcate a border of more than 1,000 miles and share billions of dollars of oil revenue. Border clashes escalated in late March, killing hundreds, and strategic oil fields have switched hands.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Violence * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Foreign Relations Immigration Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa Sudan --North Sudan --South Sudan
Abuse victims and their families have been expelled from religious schools and synagogues, shunned by fellow ultra-Orthodox Jews and targeted for harassment intended to destroy their businesses. Some victims’ families have been offered money, ostensibly to help pay for therapy for the victims, but also to stop pursuing charges, victims and victims’ advocates said.
“Try living for one day with all the pain I am living with,” Mr. Jungreis, spent and distraught, said recently outside his new apartment on Williamsburg’s outskirts. “Did anybody in the Hasidic community in these two years, in Borough Park, in Flatbush, ever come up and look my son in the eye and tell him a good word? Did anybody take the courage to show him mercy in the street?”
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9. Make her laugh. A marriage without humor is like oatmeal without brown sugar: it might still be good for you, but it’s basically congealed mush. If you’ve stopped laughing, you may have started hardening.
10. Repent and forgive. Say “I’m sorry.” Be specific and don’t make excuses. Try to see things her way. If you were only half wrong, own up to your half of the wrong. And when she owns up to her h
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As China’s leaders have been preoccupied with a political struggle leading up to a once-in-a-decade leadership change this autumn, there are increasing signs that the Chinese economy may be running into trouble.
China announced Thursday that growth in imports had unexpectedly come to a screeching halt in April — rising just 0.3 percent from the same period a year earlier, compared with expectations for an 11 percent increase. Businesses across the country appeared to lose much of their appetite for products as varied as iron ore and computer chips.
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Enable us, O heavenly Father, to walk with thee this day and every day in sure and simple trust; ever remembering that our little things are all big to thy love, and our big things are all small to thy power; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Praise the LORD! O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures for ever! Who can utter the mighty doings of the LORD, or show forth all his praise?
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