Daily Archives: May 25, 2007

Church Times: Small Number Left off Lambeth Conference invitation list

Invitations to the next Lambeth Conference were sent to nearly all the bishops in the Anglican Communion on Tuesday.

Three bishops known not to have been invited are the Bishop of New Hampshire, the Rt Revd Gene Robinson, a gay man living in a partnership; the Missionary Bishop consecrated in Virginia by Archbishop Akinola, the Rt Revd Martyn Minns; and the Bishop of Harare, the Rt Revd Nolbert Kunonga, a staunch supporter of Robert Mugabe.

None is named in the letter sent by Dr Williams with his invitations; but he writes: “There are currently one or two cases on which I am seeking further advice.” The names were confirmed by the secretary-general of the Anglican Communion, Canon Kenneth Kearon. A fourth bishop, so far unnamed, is also being investigated after questions about his consecration.

The invitations end speculation about whether a welcome would be extended to the bishops in the Episcopal Church in the United States, and the Anglican Church of Canada. Both Churches have key debates ahead about whether they will have a moratorium on gay consecrations and the blessing of gay couples. In 2005, archbishops in the Global South wrote to Dr Williams: “We do not see why you cannot warn [the US and Canada] that they will not be invited to Lambeth 2008 unless they truly repent.”

Anger among liberals about the exclusion of Bishop Robinson, however, means that the row is likely to continue. In a statement on Tuesday, the Bishop called the move “an affront to the entire Episcopal Church”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Lambeth 2008

Nadia Kizenko: Church Merger, Putin's Acquisition

Last week, on the Christian feast of the Ascension, leaders of the émigré Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia agreed to re-establish “canonical communion” with the Russian Orthodox Moscow Patriarchate. Thousands stood in line to attend the celebration at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior. But this was clearly an event of more than religious significance. The attendees were a veritable who’s who of Russian political life, including Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov and President Vladimir Putin, the merger’s architect.

News media world-wide described the event as a step in overcoming Russia’s tragic history. The New York Times called the merger “the symbolic end of Russia’s civil war.” But the reality is far more complicated. Not only are there theological and moral issues at stake, but there is also the suspicion among some that Mr. Putin is building new networks of influence by using the church to reach out to Russian émigré communities all over the world.

While lower-ranking clergy at the ceremony stressed the spiritual aspects of the merger, Patriarch Aleksy II emphasized other factors: He gave short shrift to God, but thanked President Putin.

Indeed, it was Mr. Putin who first made overtures to the Church Abroad in September 2003, when he met with its leadership during a visit to New York. The church merger is only the most recent of his successful attempts to appropriate symbols of Russia’s prerevolutionary and anticommunist past along with Soviet ones. The “repatriating” of the Danilov monastery bells from Harvard University, and the bodies of the White Russian Gen. Anton Denikin from Jackson, N.J., and the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna from Copenhagen, have gone hand in hand with reintroducing the old Soviet anthem and the Red Army’s flag. Mr. Putin is thus the first modern Russian leader to incorporate all aspects of Russia’s “usable past” in claiming his legitimacy. The Russian Orthodox Church in all its forms is a key component of that past.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Orthodox Church, Other Churches

Theological Education meeting in Singapore: Signposts on the Anglican Way


Members of the TEAC (Theological Education for the Anglican Communion) Working Group held a consultation in Singapore 10-16 May 2007, to explore ”˜The Anglican Way in theological education’. Participants in the consultation included members of TEAC’s Steering Group and Anglican Way Target Group, as well as a number of other people who brought particular expertise and helpful cross-links to the process.’The meeting was honoured with the presence and contributions of Archbishop Rowan Williams for two days of its discussions. Participants in the consultation explored how the Anglican Way was informed by specific concerns; e.g. contextual issues, educational process, recent developments in Anglican ecclesiology and Anglican ecumenical conversations. A key document ”˜The Anglican Way: Signposts on a Common Journey’, which seeks to set out key parameters of the Anglican Way as a framework for Anglican theological education, was agreed by the consultation (see below for the complete text of this document). A number of specific projects to help resource the teaching of the Anglican Way were devised and will be developed over the coming months. Additionally, the meeting provided an opportunity to welcome TEAC’s new Regional Associates and induct them to their tasks.

Members of the consultation wish to express their special thanks to Archbishop John Chew, the clergy and people of the Diocese of Singapore, and the Principal and staff of Trinity Theological College for the gracious welcome they received and the considerable help that was offered which enabled the smooth running of the consultation. ‘TEAC is also grateful to the St Augustine’s Foundation who generously funded the meeting.

Theological Education for the Anglican Communion (TEAC) The Anglican Way: Signposts on a Common Journey[1]

This document has emerged as part of a four-year process in which church leaders, theologians and educators have come together from around the world to discuss the teaching of Anglican identity, life and practice. They clarified the characteristic ways in which Anglicans understand themselves and their mission in the world. These features, described as the ”˜Anglican Way’, were intended to form the basis for how Anglicanism is taught at all levels of learning involving laity, clergy and bishops. This document is not intended as a comprehensive definition of Anglicanism, but it does set in place signposts which guide Anglicans on their journey of self-understanding and Christian discipleship. The journey is on-going because what it means to be Anglican will be influenced by context and history. Historically a number of different forms of being Anglican have emerged, all of which can be found in the rich diversity of present-day Anglicanism. But Anglicans also have their commonalities, and it is these which hold them together in communion through ”˜bonds of affection’. The signposts set out below are offered in the hope that they will point the way to a clearer understanding of Anglican identity and ministry, so that all Anglicans can be effectively taught and equipped for their service to God’s mission in the world.

The Anglican Way is a particular expression of the Christian Way of being the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ. It is formed by and rooted in Scripture, shaped by its worship of the living God, ordered for communion, and directed in faithfulness to God’s mission in the world. In diverse global situations Anglican life and ministry witnesses to the incarnate, crucified and risen Lord, and is empowered by the Holy Spirit. Together with all Christians, Anglicans hope, pray and work for the coming of the reign of God.

Formed by Scripture

As Anglicans we discern the voice of the living God in the Holy Scriptures, mediated by tradition and reason. We read the Bible together, corporately and individually, with a grateful and critical sense of the past, a vigorous engagement with the present, and with patient hope for God’s future.
We cherish the whole of Scripture for every aspect of our lives, and we value the many ways in which it teaches us to follow Christ faithfully in a variety of contexts. We pray and sing the Scriptures through liturgy and hymnody. Lectionaries connect us with the breadth of the Bible, and through preaching we interpret and apply the fullness of Scripture to our shared life in the world.
Accepting their authority, we listen to the Scriptures with open hearts and attentive minds. They have shaped our rich inheritance: for example, the ecumenical creeds of the early Church, the Book of Common Prayer, and Anglican formularies such as the Articles of Religion, catechisms and the Lambeth Quadrilateral.
In our proclamation and witness to the Word Incarnate we value the tradition of scholarly engagement with the Scriptures from earliest centuries to the present day. We desire to be a true learning community as we live out our faith, looking to one another for wisdom, strength and hope on our journey. We constantly discover that new situations call for fresh expressions of a scripturally informed faith and spiritual life.
Shaped through Worship

Our relationship with God is nurtured through our encounter with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in word and sacrament. This experience enriches and shapes our understanding of God and our communion with one another.
As Anglicans we offer praise to the Triune Holy God, expressed through corporate worship, combining order with freedom. In penitence and thanksgiving we offer ourselves in service to God in the world.
Through our liturgies and forms of worship we seek to integrate the rich traditions of the past with the varied cultures of our diverse communities.
As broken and sinful persons and communities, aware of our need of God’s mercy, we live by grace through faith and continually strive to offer holy lives to God. Forgiven through Christ and strengthened by word and sacrament, we are sent out into the world in the power of the Spirit.
Ordered for Communion

In our episcopally led and synodically governed dioceses and provinces, we rejoice in the diverse callings of all the baptized. As outlined in the ordinals, the threefold servant ministries of bishops, priests and deacons assist in the affirmation, coordination and development of these callings as discerned and exercised by the whole people of God.
As worldwide Anglicans we value our relationships with one another. We look to the Archbishop of Canterbury as a focus of unity and gather in communion with the See of Canterbury. In addition we are sustained through three formal instruments of communion: The Lambeth Conference, The Anglican Consultative Council and The Primates’ Meeting. The Archbishop of Canterbury and these three instruments offer cohesion to global Anglicanism, yet limit the centralisation of authority. They rely on bonds of affection for effective functioning.
We recognise the contribution of the mission agencies and other international bodies such as the Mothers’ Union. Our common life in the Body of Christ is also strengthened by commissions, task groups, networks of fellowship, regional activities, theological institutions and companion links.
Directed by God’s Mission

As Anglicans we are called to participate in God’s mission in the world, by embracing respectful evangelism, loving service and prophetic witness. As we do so in all our varied contexts, we bear witness to and follow Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Saviour. We celebrate God’s reconciling and life-giving mission through the creative, costly and faithful witness and ministry of men, women and children, past and present, across our Communion.
Nevertheless, as Anglicans we are keenly aware that our common life and engagement in God’s mission are tainted with shortcomings and failure, such as negative aspects of colonial heritage, self-serving abuse of power and privilege, undervaluing of the contributions of laity and women, inequitable distribution of resources, and blindness to the experience of the poor and oppressed. As a result, we seek to follow the Lord with renewed humility so that we may freely and joyfully spread the good news of salvation in word and deed.
Confident in Christ, we join with all people of good will as we work for God’s peace, justice and reconciling love. We recognise the immense challenges posed by secularisation, poverty, unbridled greed, violence, religious persecution, environmental degradation, and HIV/Aids. In response, we engage in prophetic critique of destructive political and religious ideologies, and we build on a heritage of care for human welfare expressed through education, health care and reconciliation.
In our relationships and dialogue with other faith communities we combine witness to the Lordship of Jesus Christ with a desire for peace, and mutual respect and understanding.
As Anglicans, baptized into Christ, we share in the mission of God with all Christians and are deeply committed to building ecumenical relationships. Our reformed catholic tradition has proved to be a gift we are able to bring to ecumenical endeavour. We invest in dialogue with other churches based on trust and a desire that the whole company of God’s people may grow into the fullness of unity to which God calls us that the world may believe the gospel.
TEAC Anglican Way Consultation Singapore, May 2007

1. This document currently has only the authority of the TEAC meeting in Singapore which agreed the text.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Reports & Communiques, Anglican Identity, Instruments of Unity, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

From the No Comment Department

OSLO, Norway (AP) — A police campaign to crack down on pickpockets has come too late to help the capital’s top crime fighter. Police Chief Anstein Gjengedal’s wallet was snatched by a pickpocket as the campaign was set to begin, the Oslo newspaper Dagbladet reported Friday.

Posted in * General Interest

Cemeteries Seek Breathing Clientele

The dinner was first-class, with butlers serving hors d’oeuvres and the strains of “Blue Danube” tastefully muffling the festive din. This nine-course re-creation of the last supper aboard an ill-fated ocean liner was the culmination of Titanic Day at Laurel Hill Cemetery, one of a growing number of historic cemeteries to rebrand themselves as destination necropolises for weekend tourists.

Historic cemeteries, desperate for money to pay for badly needed restorations, are reaching out to the public in ever more unusual ways, with dog parades, bird-watching lectures, Sunday jazz concerts, brunches with star chefs, Halloween parties in the crematory and even a nudie calendar.

Laurel Hill, the resting place of six Titanic victims, promotes itself as an “underground museum.” The sold-out Titanic dinner, including a tour of mausoleums, joined the “Dead White Republicans” tour (“the city’s power brokers, in all their glory and in all their shame”), the “Birding Among the Buried” tour, and “Sinners, Scandals and Suicides,” including a visit to the grave of “a South Philly gangster who got whacked when he tried to infiltrate the Schuylkill County numbers racket.”

As Americans choose cremation in record numbers, Victorian cemeteries like Laurel Hill and Green-Wood in Brooklyn are repositioning themselves for the afterlife: their own. Repositories of architectural and sculptural treasures, like Tiffany windows and weeping marble maidens atop tombs, the cemeteries face dwindling endowments, years of vandalism and neglect, shrinking space for new arrivals and a society that, until recently, collectively distanced itself from their meandering byways.

Although their individual circumstances vary ”” Green-Wood in Brooklyn, a newly crowned National Historic Landmark, has space for two more years of in-ground burial, while Laurel Hill is virtually full ”” what they share is a daunting number of tombs in need of repair. Woodlawn, in the Bronx, the final home of Whitneys, a Woolworth, Jay Gould and jazz greats like Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton, has 95,000 grave sites.

Only 9,000 have endowments, said Susan Olsen, the executive director of the Friends of Woodlawn. “You’re a conservator,” Ms. Olsen said. “You can’t have someone up there with a bottle of Windex cleaning a Tiffany window.”

The new cemetery tourism ”” a subterranean version of the History Channel ”” is also a means of developing brand loyalty in the wake of what Joseph Dispenza, president of the historic Forest Lawn in Buffalo, calls a “diminishing customer base.”

Read it all and there is discussion there.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Ron Ferguson: Delayed decision buys time for understanding

The Anglican communion seems to be keen on tearing itself apart on the issue of same-sex relationships. Archbishop Rowan Williams must look over the border with envy. Yesterday’s wise decision recognises that the Church of Scotland is divided on this matter, and is not ready to move to judgment without further study.

A cop-out? Not really. It’s not a disgrace to acknowledge ignorance. There are many people who have not (knowingly) had a conversation with a gay or lesbian. The heartfelt story of Kirk elder James Simpson, whose life was turned into turmoil when his son announced that he was gay, moved the assembly deeply.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, England / UK, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

The Episcopal Church ”˜mishandled the debate on human sexuality’

By George Conger

THE EPISCOPAL Church has mishandled the debate on human sexuality by misleading the Anglican Communion about its intentions to regularise gay bishops and blessings, the Primate of the West Indies said on May 15. By placing autonomy above unity it has brought the Anglican Communion to the brink of collapse, Archbishop Drexel Gomez told the clergy of Central Florida. Archbishop Gomez criticised the leadership of the Episcopal Church for not being entirely straight forward with the Communion. “You just cannot have collegiality,” he explained, “if when you meet with your colleagues you don’t share.”

He also chided the African-led missionary jurisdictions, the AMiA and CANA, operating in the United States, saying they were an unfortunate “anomaly.” It was “most unfortunate” that the Episcopal Church had hid its intentions to regularise gay bishops and blessings, Archbishop Gomez said, as it had not seen “fit to share with the rest of the Anglican Communion what it intended on doing.” During the 2003 Primates’ Meeting in Gramado, Brazil “we had a long discussion on this business of [gay] blessings and samesex unions,” he said. But at “no time during the meeting, did [US Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold] even indicate that a situation was developing in the Episcopal Church that would lead to the consecration of Gene Robinson.” “It is not good enough as Frank [Griswold] had said that The Episcopal Church has been wrestling with this issue for 30 years and the Spirit has led them to this decision. We were unaware of the problem. It must be a shared discernment if we belong to the body,” Archbishop Gomez said. ACC-13 in Nottingham was the “first time any presentation had been made by The Episcopal Church” on these issues, he argued.

At the 2003 emergency Primates’ Meeting at Lambeth Palace, “We said unanimously, including Frank Griswold, if The Episcopal Church were to proceed with the consecration of Gene Robinson that it would tear the fabric of the Communion. And yet it proceeded and the fabric has been torn,” he said. The consecration of Gene Robinson was “the first time in the history of Christendom that someone has been made a bishop who could not function as a bishop,” Archbishop Gomez argued. “Theologically I do not consider him to be a bishop,” he said. Bishop Robinson’s episcopal ordination was an example of Augustine’s argument, Archbishop Gomez stated that “a sacrament could be valid but non efficacious.” He “has been sacramentally ordained, validly ordained as a bishop, but he cannot function as a bishop in most of the Anglican Communion.”

Archbishop Gomez stated he was also “very concerned” about the formation of rival Anglican jurisdictions in the United States under the sponsorship of overseas primates. These “new groupings are anomalous in Anglicanism” he told Central Florida, adding “I tried hard at the last Primates’ Meeting to find an answer to that” difficulty, which “complicates the situation.” One of the triumphs of the Tanzania Primates’ Meeting, he said, had been the agreement made by the onterventionist primates to turn over their US jurisdictions to an international pastoral council. “We got them to the point where they would stop. This was not easy to achieve,” he said. “I thought the House of Bishops would jump at the opportunity” to end foreign interventions, but they “wouldn’t look at it.” The rejection of the pastoral council by the House of Bishops now makes it “twice as difficult to get this back on the table,” Archbishop Gomez said. He also stated the Dar es Salaam Communiqué was the first statement by the Primates where each was asked to give their personal assent.

At prior meetings “we worked by consensus in our decisions,” but Archbishop Williams “felt that the decision was so important, so critical” that all should be polled for their views. “Individually [Archbishop Williams] went around and individually every person said yes [to the Communiqué]. [Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori] said yes, but said it would be a difficult sell, but she would try.” The question put to the Presiding Bishop was whether she accepted the communiqué, “and Katharine agreed to the proposal.” Archbishop Gomez did not expect a decisive response from the House of Bishops to the September 30 deadline for compliance to the Primates’ Communiqué. “On the basis of past actions, certainly over the past 10 years, I would presume that the Episcopal Church would seek someway of fudging it. And that would be a consistent pattern,” he stated. He told the gathering that he had suggested a September 30 deadline for a response from the House of Bishops. “The intention was to give them two full meetings” before an answer was due, although Archbishop Williams had pressed for more time. The Episcopal Church “will have to make a decision” whether it will remain part of the Anglican Communion. “The official Church speaking through its General Convention places autonomy over its mission. That is the reality we have to face in the Communion,” Archbishop Gomez said.

–This article appears in the Church of England Newspaper, May 25 2007 edition, page 7

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Primates, Anglican Primates, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams on Child Abuse and the Church

(Background here and there).

Listen to it all from the BBC.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Archbishop of Canterbury, Children

From the Pew Forum: Is the Anglican Communion the First Stage in a Wider Christian Split?

PHILIP JENKINS: The word schism means a split, and the great historical example is what happened in 1054, when the Eastern and Western churches had a tiff over such crucial theological issues as whether priests should wear beards. Everyone knew this was going to be resolved in just a couple of years; 950 years or so later, and counting, they’re still divided into the Catholic and Orthodox churches, and it’s not likely to be resolved any time soon.

Today I’m going to talk about the Anglican schism, but I want to look at the question of whether this is the first shot in a much larger war and whether instead of an East-West schism, we’ll be looking at a North-South schism. I want to start this off with a quote you will find shocking or at the very least surprising. As you’re aware, a number of Episcopal churches in the United States have placed themselves under the authority of African and Asian clergy because, basically, they don’t trust the leadership of the Episcopal Church.

One of the African clerics they’ve turned to is a man called Emmanuel Kolini, who is the primate of Rwanda. When Kolini is asked why he is interfering in American affairs, he has a very simple answer: “Back in my country back in 1994, we had the genocide and the world stood idly by, nobody came to help us; we are not going to let that happen to you. We will not stand idly by while this dreadful thing happens to the Episcopal Church.” Most of us, of course, look at that and think, “You’re seriously comparing the 1994 genocide with the split in the Episcopal Church?” That seems astonishing. But I hope to suggest why some of the issues involved here are so very important for Global South churches.

Quick narrative: The U.S. Episcopal Church is not a huge body, but it’s a very influential body. Realistically it has maybe two, two-and-a-half million members, yet its influence is far beyond those numbers. It’s a very liberal body on issues of gender, sexuality; it’s been semi-overtly ordaining gay clergy and carrying out gay marriages for a number of years. The turning point came in 2003 when an openly gay cleric, Bishop Robinson, was ordained. For some years before that, conservatives within the Episcopal Church had been looking to the wider Anglican world, and they’d had a lot of support from those Global South churches. Global South means, in this context, Africa and Asia.

In 2003, the skies fell in. Global South primates from countries like Nigeria and Uganda started using ferociously critical language about the ordination of Robinson. They called it a satanic attack on God’s church. The U.S. Episcopal response here was, “Who are you to tell us this?” Then the primates in countries like Nigeria said, “Let us tell you who we are to be telling you this. There’s two, two-and-a-half million members of you; the Nigerian church had, back in 1975, five million members, we’re currently up to 19 million members; by 2025, we’ll be at 35 million members. We’re doubling every 25 years or so; what can you say to that?”

But of course, the Anglican Church is not just Nigeria; it’s Uganda and Tanzania and Rwanda and all these other countries. Since that point in 2003 the Anglican Communion has developed an ever wider split. Most recently, of course, conservative churches within the U.S. Episcopal Church have placed themselves under the Episcopal authority of Global South churches. The most recent, of course, affected a number of very large, prosperous churches in Virginia, which are now part of a missionary diocese of the Nigerian church under its primate Peter Akinola.

The language, the sentiment and the depth of hatred in these events has been quite striking. We could have a competition as to which remark is the least conducive to Christian charity. (Laughter.) I have a couple of candidates. Candidate one is Akinola’s remark that the U.S. Episcopal Church is like a cancerous lump that has defied all treatment, and the time has come for it to be excised altogether. Candidate two is from one of the gay pressure groups within the Episcopal Church, when someone said: “All I can say to you African bishops, is why can’t you go back to the jungle you came from and stop monkeying around with the church?” We’ll have a vote afterwards as to which is the more offensive remark….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates

US fears over China long-range missiles

The US is increasingly concerned about China’s deployment of mobile land and sea-based ballistic nuclear missiles that have the range to hit the US, according to people familiar with an imminent Pentagon report on China’s military.

The 2007 Pentagon China military power report will highlight the surprising pace of development of a new Jin-class submarine equipped to carry a nuclear ballistic missile with a range of more than 5,000 miles.

Washington is also concerned about the strategic implications of China’s preparations later this year to start deploying a new mobile, land-based DF-31A intercontinental ballistic missile that could target the whole US.

Robert Gates, US defence secretary, on Thursday said the report would not exaggerate the threat posed by China. “It paints a picture of a country that is devoting substantial resources to the military and developing…some very sophisticated capabilities.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations

Clinton, Obama vote 'no' on Iraq bill

Courting the anti-war constituency, Democratic presidential rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama (news, bio, voting record) both voted against legislation that pays for the Iraq war but lacks a timeline for troop withdrawal.

“I fully support our troops” but the measure “fails to compel the president to give our troops a new strategy in Iraq,” said Clinton, a New York senator.

“Enough is enough,” Obama, an Illinois senator, declared, adding that President Bush should not get “a blank check to continue down this same, disastrous path.”

Their votes Thursday night continued a shift in position for the two presidential hopefuls, both of whom began the year shunning a deadline for a troop withdrawal.

On a vote of 80-14, the Senate cleared the measure and sent it to Bush.

Both Clinton and Obama have faced intense pressure from the party’s liberal wing and Democratic presidential challengers who urged opposition to the measure because it doesn’t include a timeline to pull forces out of Iraq.

Sen. Christopher Dodd (news, bio, voting record) of Connecticut, who also voted against the legislation, was among the Democratic candidates calling for rejection of it, along with former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

Of the four Democratic hopefuls in the Senate, only Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware supported the bill. He said he did so reluctantly because he viewed the measure as flawed. But he added: “As long as we have troops on the front lines, it is our shared responsibility to give them the equipment and protection they need.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Iraq War, US Presidential Election 2008

What are the Top Cities by Population in the World?

And where do New York and London fall on the list? Guess before looking.

Posted in * General Interest

Speaking in tongues: Faith's language barrier?

On a wave of emotion, the man at the front of the church broke into a language only he and his God could understand.
“Ah le ah ne al la ne,” said Bill Siordia, a worshiper at The Pentecostals of Pleasanton, a small congregation in the San Francisco Bay Area. With closed eyes and palms raised skyward, he continued in a whispered rush. “Ma ne ah ne ta la ah ka wa.”

Siordia, 44, a warehouse worker, was speaking in tongues, a form of verbal prayer scholars call glossolalia. For him ”” and a growing numbers of Christians worldwide ”” the experience is a direct means of communication with God that is a transcendent and crucial part of his faith.

“It is kind of a high,” Siordia said later, describing the most common form of speaking in tongues as an indecipherable expression of personal prayer and praise. “It is like being with the Lord. I feel that sense that everything is OK.”

This Sunday, Christians will celebrate Pentecost, when the Bible says God sent a “mighty wind” among Jesus’ disciples and they prayed in unknown languages. “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit,” the Book of Acts says, “and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

Though all Christians mark the day, only some speak in tongues. Those who do describe an immediate, ecstatic and personal experience of God. Those who do not have called it phony, weird and even dangerous.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

Gateway Pundit: War on Terror Fatalities Reach Ominous Threshold

Check out the numbers.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Iraq War

OPEN THREAD: "Bugs" "Turkeys" "Requests"

Update — June 1: We’ve made several changes to the blog “pagination” and navigation system overnight. You can learn all about what’s new in today’s “Daily Blog Tip” entry.

An open thread for all reports of “bugs,” and “turkeys” (definitions below) and requests about the blog function & setup.

The Background:
We found a bug with the search feature this morning. It is being worked on and should be almost fixed as I type this. [The links to blog entries which showed up in the search results were giving an error message when one clicked on the article title. Should be fixed very soon we hope. Thanks Greg!] UPDATE: Bug is fixed. Greg rocks!

The Request
Since we made this switch to a new blog quite quickly, there is still a lot to do and you all get a chance to give your input. We need input from you all in three areas:

1. Bugs.
(Something that is not working. It is supposed to do one thing, but does another.)

2. Turkeys.
(Something that is working as it “should” but which is not well designed or helpful, and thus perhaps it can be improved)

3. Requests.
Just that. Your requests. Pure & Simple. The new T19 is still a tabula rasa in some ways (example: the side bar). There are many features we haven’t even begun to work on or set up because we’re still working on the basics, and at least for us elves, still learning the software and what’s possible. What would you like to see here? What features would enhance T19 and make it the truly helpful and powerful resource that we would love it to be?

Many extra pairs of eyes and suggestions will be helpful to us. So, go to it. Many thanks!

— Elfgirl

Posted in * Admin, Blog Tips & Features