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Holy Week Meditations: 13 April – Palm Sunday

April 13th, 2014 Posted in Lent |

Apr 13

am: Ps 24, 29
pm: 103

am: Zech 9:9-12
pm: Zech 12:9-13:9

1 Tim 6:12-16

Luke 19:41-48


LITURGICAL THEME FOR THE DAY: This festival has early roots in the Eastern Church. St. Cyril of Jerusalem writes about annual commemoration of this great event as recorded in the Scriptures, with the custom also being observed by the desert fathers of Egypt and Syria. The first evidence we find in the West is in the 7th Century through the Sacramentary of St. Gregory, that is, at the end of the sixth, or the beginning of the seventh, century. In many Christian churches, Palm Sunday includes a procession of the assembled worshipers carrying palms, representing the palm branches the crowd scattered in front of Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem. The difficulty of procuring palms in unfavorable climates led to their substitution with branches of native trees, including box, yew, willow, and olive. The Sunday was often designated by the names of these trees, as in Yew Sunday, or by the general term Branch Sunday.

MEDITATION OF THE DAY: Palm Sunday begins Holy Week, when we are all called to relive and to celebrate the events, which went before and surrounded Christ’s death and resurrection, the source of our salvation. Today we begin by recalling Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, where the regional custom called for kings and nobles arriving in procession to ride on the back of a donkey. The donkey was a symbol of peace; those who rode upon them proclaimed peaceful intentions. The laying of palm branches indicated that the king or dignitary was arriving in victory or triumph.

When we consider all that is being said in the lessons today we are reminded that Jesus for many is a sign of contradiction in the span of a few days he is acclaimed and then reviled. The fact of the matter is that we are part of that crowd that flips and flops.

Will we chose rightly and embrace Jesus the Son of God, or will give lip service and find ourselves in the universe of Judas or Barabbas. These are very different persons to be aligned with. Will be aligned with the servant of servants or the way of beings elf serving? Will we seek the Father’s will or seek to our own will. Who and what will we chose?

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Ride On ! Ride On In Majesty

April 13th, 2014 Posted in News |

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Are Christians Obsessed with Sex?

April 12th, 2014 Posted in pro-life/abortion, sex |

By Nathaniel Givens, First Things

From time to time a member of the Christian left will admonish the Christian right to stop obsessing about sex. This is a clever move because in addition to undercutting traditional sexual morality it also suggests that those who are concerned with the topic are acting on some secret ulterior motive. Voyeurism? Projection? Repression? Whatever the precise cause, it definitely sounds unhealthy.

Tom Ehrich is one of the most recent to advance this case. His post, an excellent example of what C. S. Lewis termed “bulverism ,” largely takes for granted that Christians are obsessed with sex and speculates that this is the result of some kind of perpetual adolescence . The substance of his contention is that:

We obsess about sex, a topic that Jesus himself ignored. Our public presence has narrowed to questions around abortion and homosexuality. The “Christian” political agenda has become nothing more than electing candidates who will deal correctly with abortion and homosexuality.

One could suggest quite a few things that Jesus Christ had nothing to say about, but sex would not make the list. He reaffirmed the central moral teaching of fidelity in telling the woman caught in adultery to “leave your life of sin” (John 8:11, NIV), but then went much farther and stated that “anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28, NIV). Some rather stern language about plucking out eyes and cutting off hands followed thereafter and then further discussion of divorce and fornication. So much for the supposed silence of the Savior on the subject of sex.
Just as puzzling, however, is the assertion that abortion is a sexual issue for pro-life Christians. There are a lot of ways that the pro-life movement views abortion. The folks at Feminists for Life view it as a women’s issue. The folks at Secular Pro-Life view it as a secular civil rights issue. The common thread for all pro-life groups, including religious ones, however, is the issue of life. Not sex.
Read here
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Church of England faces ‘crisis’ as gay priest weds

April 12th, 2014 Posted in Church of England, Gay Marriage |

By Edward Malnick, Telegraph

A priest has become the first in Britain to defy the Church of England’s ban on gay clergy marrying.

Canon Jeremy Pemberton, 58, a divorced hospital chaplain, wed his long-term partner Laurence Cunnington, 51, on Saturday afternoon.

Campaigners expressed delight that the couple had taken advantage of Britain’s newly-introduced gay marriage laws and urged bishops to “bless” their partnership. They predict he will be the first of many gay clergy to marry.

But a leading member of the Church’s conservative evangelical wing called for “discipline” of any clergy seen to be breaking the rules. He warned of a “crisis” if the leadership failed to take action.

Canon Pemberton, who has five children, is a chaplain at Lincoln hospital and also works in the Church’s Southwell and Nottingham diocese. In 2012 he was a signatory to a letter to The Telegraph from dozens of clergy warning that if the Church refused to permit gay weddings in its own churches they would advise members of their congregations to marry elsewhere.

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Officials look for ways to fast-track women into Lords

April 12th, 2014 Posted in Church of England, Women Bishops |

by Madeleine Davies, Church Times

CHURCH officials and advisers are considering ways to speed up the entry of women bishops into the House of Lords, the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, confirmed on Monday.

Episcopal admission to the House of Lords is determined by the Bishopric of Manchester Act of 1847. This limits the number of places for Lords Spiritual to 26. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the Bishops of Durham, London, and Winchester are ex-officio members of the House of Lords. The remaining places on the Bishops' Bench are held by the 21 diocesan bishops who have been in post the longest.

On Monday, Bishop Stevens, the convener of the Bishops in the Lords, said: "The discussion is about whether it would be helpful to the Church, and, indeed, to Parliament, for the Bishops' Bench to be both male and female in rather quicker time than the present process would naturally allow. . .

"We have started to consult about this, including consulting with some senior ordained women about what their views would be about some positive affirmative action."

The proposals will not be put before the General Synod. Rather, both Houses of Parliament would have to pass an amendment to the Bishopric Act.

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Stolen Childhood Conference

April 12th, 2014 Posted in Children/Family |

A conference to explore the dangers to which our children are increasingly exposed in society today, and the reasons for this, putting forward strategies for change at both government and family levels.

Hosted by the Lords and Commons Family and Child Protection Group

Date: Wednesday, 30th April 2014

Venue: The Emmanuel Centre

9-23 Marsham Street

Westminster SW1P 3DW

Time: 10 am – 5 pm (Registration from 9:30am)

Cost: £20 Registration Fee

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Belgian intensive care doctors back involuntary euthanasia

April 12th, 2014 Posted in Euthanasia |

By Michael Cook, Bio Edge

Involuntary euthanasia is acceptable medical treatment, according to a recent official statement by the Belgian Society of Intensive Care Medicine.
Although voluntary euthanasia is legal is Belgium under some circumstances, involuntary euthanasia is basically illegal. But the Society wants to be able to euthanase patients who do not appear to have long to live.
The Society spells out its policy very carefully. It is not about grey areas like withdrawing burdensome or futile treatment or balancing pain relief against shortening a patient’s life. It clearly states that “shortening the dying process by administering sedatives beyond what is needed for patient comfort can be not only acceptable but in many cases desirable”.
“Shortening the dying process” is a euphemism for administering a lethal injection.
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The Rise Of The Same-Sex Marriage Dissidents

April 12th, 2014 Posted in Civil Liberty, Gay Marriage |

by Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist

Just days after being named CEO of Mozilla, Brendan Eich was forced out because he is an opponent of same-sex marriage. After declining opportunities to recant his views, he “voluntarily” decided to step down. Responses have been all over the map.
A writer at Slate actually tried to justify the termination as a good thing. Libertarian Nick Gillespie said he was “ambivalent” about Eich’s removal but that Eich’s resignation simply “shows how businesses respond to market signals.” And even conservatives weren’t rallying behind Eich on the grounds that marriage is an institution designed around sexual complementarity so much as by saying that even if he’s wrong, conscience should be protected.
At the end of the day, they’re all wrong. Or at least not even close to understanding the problem with Eich’s firing. Political differences with CEOs, even deep political differences, are something adults handle all the time. Most of us know that what happened held much more significance than anodyne market forces having their way. And Eich shouldn’t be protected on the grounds that one has the right to be wrong. See, Eich wasn’t hounded out of corporate life because he was wrong. He was hounded out of corporate life because he was right. His message strikes at the root of a popular but deeply flawed ideology that can not tolerate dissent.
Read also:  The Hounding Of A Heretic by gay activist Andrew Sullivan, and an update here
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Lenten Meditations: Saturday 12 April

April 12th, 2014 Posted in Lent |


April 12

am: Ps 137, 144
pm: 42, 43

Exod 10:21-11:8

2 Cor 4:13-18

Mark 10:46-52

FIFTH SATURDAY OF LENT – St. Basil the Confessor, 8th Century 

LITURGICAL THEME FOR THE DAY: St Basil the Confessor was elected as bishop by the inhabitants of Paris, who venerated the Saint as a true pastor of the flock of Christ. When the Iconoclast heresy broke out, St Basil resolutely came out on the side of icon veneration and refused to sign the orders for their abolition (the "Iniquitous Scroll" of the Council of 754 AD, which was convened under the emperor Constantine V Copronymos (741-775 AD). The Saint avoided any contact with the heretics and did not permit them into his diocese. For his zeal, he suffered much persecution, hunger and deprivation.

MEDITATION OF THE DAY: : The Daily Office has been providing us with lessons from Exodus which will serve as a good backdrop for those who will be going through the fullness of Holy Week in the Great Vigil of  Easter.  We are reminded in these chapters that when the enslaved Israelites sought to leave Egypt, Pharaoh said no!  Some of the plagues are the type of disasters, some others surreal, and those both in and outside the faith often ask Did the plagues actually occur in the order and manner described in the book. While Biblcal archaeologists and historians might be better served to explore this conversation, what is the faith result that occurs. Certainly, something happened to trigger their departure and it must have been monumental for Pharoah to give up his slave labor? Perhaps a good starting point for reflection is simply, that what ignited the depth of faith of the Hebrew People  was not their physical redemption from Egypt. Certainly that would spur anyone on but rather it could have been their valuing of the mighty acts which the Lord had done in Egypt”— sparing them and smiting their enemy. Perhaps this lesson is a good opportunity for us to pause and look around and consider what mighty work the Lord has done in my life and  make acts of witness accordingly.

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News Bulletin 11 April 2014 — The Christian Institute

April 11th, 2014 Posted in News |

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Take the #NoZilla pledge and #DumpFirefox

April 11th, 2014 Posted in Civil Liberty, Petitions, Religious Liberty |

Read pledge and sign petition here

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Uninstall Firefox

April 11th, 2014 Posted in Civil Liberty |

By Dennis Prager,

In 31 years of broadcasting, and 40 years of writing, I have never advocated a boycott of a product.

Quite the opposite, in fact.

During the 2012 presidential campaign, when the left attempted to destroy Chick-Fil-A for its owner's views on same-sex marriage, I suggested on my radio show that the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, stand in front of a Chick-Fil-A restaurant while enjoying some Ben and Jerry's ice cream. In that way, I argued, he could show one of the great moral differences between the right and the left. Though Ben and Jerry are leftists, we conservatives do not believe that company owners' views should matter to consumers. We believe that products should speak for themselves. If the ice cream is good, despite whatever repugnance we might feel regarding the views of the makers of that ice cream, we will still purchase it.

The left does not see things that way. The left is out to crush individuals and companies with whom it differs. This is especially so today on the issue of same-sex marriage.

Perhaps the most dramatic example of this took place last week. The governing board of the widely used browser, Firefox, forced the company's CEO, Brendan Eich, to resign. The Firefox board had learned that in 2008, Eich donated $1,000 to the Proposition 8 campaign in California. Proposition 8 amended the California Constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In classic Communist fashion, gay rights organizations demanded that Eich publicly recant. When Eich did not, gay rights and other leftist organizations called for a boycott of Firefox. Firefox immediately forced Eich out.

[...]  It is important to further note that gay employees at Firefox acknowledge that Eich never discriminated against gays, whether in employment, benefits or any other way. But that doesn't matter to the left because a totalitarian streak is part of the left's DNA.

As Princeton Professor of Jurisprudence Robert George warned on my radio show, today the left fires employees for opposition to same-sex marriage. Tomorrow it will fire employees who are pro-life ("anti-woman"). And next it will be employees who support Israel (an "apartheid state").

The reason to boycott Firefox is not that it is run by leftists. Nor is the reason to support the man-woman definition of marriage. It is solely in order to preserve liberty in the land of liberty. If Firefox doesn't recant and rehire Eich as CEO, McCarthyism will have returned far more pervasively and perniciously than in its first incarnation. The message the gay left (such as the Orwellian-named Human Rights Campaign) and the left in general wish to send is that Americans who are in positions of power at any company should be forced to resign if they hold a position that the left strongly opposes.

And right now that position is opposition to same-sex marriage.

Think about that. In the United States of America today, the belief that marriage should remain defined as the union of a man and woman is portrayed as so vile by the left that anyone who holds it is unfit for employment.

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Response to Government consultation on future of civil partnership

April 11th, 2014 Posted in Church of England, Civil Partnerships |

11 April 2014
The Church of England has submitted its response to the Government's consultation document on the future of civil partnership. The 12 week consultation period opened in January and closes next Thursday (17 April).
The response, which can be found here, has been considered and approved by the Archbishops' Council and House of Bishops' Standing Committee as well as by both Archbishops.
Details of the Government consultation can be found here
Read also:  Keep civil partnerships, Bishops tell Government by Madeleine Davies, Church Times
Church of England says civil partnerships should not be abolished following gay marriage legalisation by Michael Trimmer, Christian Today
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How a little faith can bring a lot of love

April 11th, 2014 Posted in Faith |

From The Telegraph

Regular worshippers have a better love life, finds university research

Married churchgoers with busy social lives are likely to be the happiest in love, according to a study.

Researchers also noted that people aged 31 to 59 tended to be slightly happier with their love lives than those who were 60 and over.

And while education was found not to have an effect on a person’s happiness in love, religion was. The team, from the University of Porto in Portugal, noticed that people who regularly visit church tended to be more positive about their love lives. The finding backs up previous research that suggests religious involvement leads to better mental health and greater sexual relationships.

The study was published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life.

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Marriage under threat – please respond

April 11th, 2014 Posted in Marriage |

From C4M

Dear marriage supporter,


If you haven't already, please respond to the Government consultation on extending civil partnerships, which closes on Thursday 17 April.

Our concerns are focused on Question 3, which asks whether civil partnerships should be extended to opposite-sex couples.


Civil partnership law does not require a lifelong commitment, but when you marry you have to intend to be together for life when you say your vows. So opening up civil partnership to heterosexual couples undermines marriage. Society will then be encouraging couples to choose the lower-commitment option. And according to the Pensions Minister, a two-tier system is also likely to cost the taxpayer at least £3bn.

Family hardships

Instead of undermining marriage yet again, the Government should be doing more to address serious family hardship. If two sisters live together and one of them dies, the other could have to sell the house to pay the inheritance tax. Similarly a daughter who gives up her job to care for her elderly parents could be homeless after her parent's die. These hardships – common to many families – are being ignored by the Government.

Respond now

The easiest way to respond to the consultation is using the Government's online form.

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The gloves are off in the fight over “sexual rights” here at the UN

April 11th, 2014 Posted in pro-life/abortion |

by John Smeaton, SPUC

This week I have been attending the 47th session of the Commission on Population and Development at the United Nations in New York.  [...]

The ugly, anti-life agenda has been all too evident this week here at the United Nations. The gloves are off and war is being waged against the unborn, marriage, children and the family. The pro-abortion lobby – which is out here in force – is being led by the likes of Lynne Featherstone on behalf of the British government – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development. I will say more about that another day.

Here's SPUC lobbyist Pat Buckley's bird's eye view of what's happening:

Read here

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Why Churches That Oppose Same-Sex Marriage Attract Young Christians Students Like Me

April 11th, 2014 Posted in Bible, youth culture |

by Marya Skotte, IRD

The same-sex marriage debate is one that young Americans cannot escape. We are constantly forced to encounter same-sex issues everywhere we turn —on television, newspapers, and social media. But what’s especially haunting for young Evangelical Christians is that we are being forced to decide how to live out our faith in the wake of increasing acceptance within the church.

Research has shown that while the rest of the U.S. has become more accepting of same-sex marriage, Evangelicals have stood firm in their convictions and this is true for older as well as for younger Evangelicals. Trending now, however, is a proclivity for some prominent professed Evangelical voices to embrace homosexuality.

Presumably, this is out of fear that opposition to same-sex marriage will scare off young Evangelicals from already dwindling congregations. But, from my own personal experience as an Azusa Pacific Christian University student, I can testify that this notion is not necessarily true. Although a number of people may be turned off by a church that opposes same-sex marriage, there are a number of factors that would make the same church very attractive to Evangelical youth.

Although young Evangelicals analyze same-sex marriage based on constitutional, experiential, and relational ideas, it is ultimately Scripture that young evangelicals use as guide “to-live-by.” Marriage and how the church should deal with sexual orientation should be grounded in the Word of God. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Genesis begins with the creation and relationship between one man and one woman, and this same relationship is outlined clearly throughout the rest of scripture, making it an issue that is core and not contingent. A church that adheres to this scriptural core is very attractive to young Evangelicals who take their faith as well as scripture seriously.

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‘We face attacks if C of E marriage policy changes’

April 11th, 2014 Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, Persecuted church, Sudan |

by Madeleine Davies, Church Times

BISHOPS in South Sudan have confirmed the Archbishop of Canterbury's warning that Christians in their country face a violent reaction if the Church of England permits same-sex marriage and blessings.

Archbishop Welby gave his warning during a phone-in on LBC radio last Friday. Asked why the Church of England could not permit clergy to bless same-sex relationships, he said: "The impact of that on Christians in countries far from here, like South Sudan, like Nigeria, and other places, would be absolutely catastrophic."

He spoke of a visit to South Sudan in January: "The church leaders there were saying, please don't change what you're doing because then we couldn't accept your help, and we need your help desperately."

The LBC presenter, James O'Brien, suggested that gay Christians might interpret the Archbishop's words as a ban on marrying "because of the conniptions it would give to some, dare we say, less enlightened people in Africa".

"I don't think we dare say 'less enlightened', actually," replied the Archbishop. "That's nothing to do with it. It's about the fact that I've stood by a graveside in Africa of a group of Christians who'd been attacked because of something that had happened far, far away in America."

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Lenten Meditations: Friday 11 April

April 11th, 2014 Posted in Lent |

April 11

am: Ps 22
pm: 141, 143

Exod 9:13-35

2 Cor 4:1-12

Mark 10:32-45


FIFTH FRIDAY OF LENT George Augustus Selwyn, first Bishop of New Zealand, 1878


LITURGICAL THEME FOR THE DAY:  Selwyn was born in London in 1809, educated at Eton and Cambridge and ordained in 1833. In 1841, he was made first Bishop of New Zealand. He diligently studied the Maori tongue on his long sea voyage, and was able to preach in it on his arrival. He laid the foundations of the Church, not only in New Zealand, but throughout the islands of Melanesia. (This was the result of a clerical error. The northern boundary of his diocese was supposed to be the parallel of latitude 34 degrees south of the equator. The official document read "north" instead of "south," and Selwyn cheerfully accepted responsibility for the vast Pacific regions of the Melanesian and Polynesian islands as well as New Zealand. In the ten-year war between the Maoris and the European colonists, Selwyn managed to keep the confidence of both sides, and ultimately at the first general synod of the Church in New Zealand in 1859 to secure the adoption of a Constitution that established the principle of full participation by Maori Christians at all levels of Church government. In 1867, Selwyn was pressured to accept appointment as Bishop of Litchfield. Reluctantly, he returned to England, where he died eleven years later.

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Historic Hearing at European Parliament

April 10th, 2014 Posted in pro-life/abortion |

From European Dignity Watch

It was a real thriller. But the result couldn’t be better for the proponents of the biggest Citizen Initiative of the EU, One of Us. The European Parliament has never before, in its history, seen such a frank, honest and high-level debate about the inconsistencies of the EU regarding the equal protection of every human being from the moment of conception onwards.

What went on behind the scenes?

Two days before the hearing, the Citizens’ Committee received a letter with a draft agenda, which has been changed without the consent of the Citizens’ Committee. As it turned out, Parliament tried to give minimal speaking time to the representatives of ‘One of Us’ while filling the slots with statements of MEPs. Given the controversies that One of Us has caused over the last two years in some circles, certain MEPs were seemingly attempting to lecture One of Us instead of listening, as would be appropriate for such a hearing.

It was particularly shocking to see that the first round of statements provided speaking slots for four MEPs and two Commissioners before even allowing the Citizens’ Committee to present the initiative and its objectives.

As if that were not enough, an MEP who had publicly stated in recent days that his aim in participating in the Public Hearing was to demolish ‘One of Us’ which he tried to dismiss with hate speech as “a bunch of religious extremists” had been granted three speaking slots in the changed programme.

A letter of protest with an emergency request to change the agenda of the hearing was sent in the early hours of this morning to President Martin Schulz and the 4 chairs of the parliamentary committees scheduled to give their opinion at the hearing.

This morning at 8:50 while the room was filled to capacity with 400 people who were eagerly awaiting the hearing, Gregor Puppinck, the representative of the ‘One of Us’ Citizens’ Committee threatened to call off the hearing if Parliament would not withdraw their agenda that was tantamount to forcing a sham hearing, designed to limit the freedom to express what ‘One of Us’ stand for.

Finally, at 9:15, the hearing began 15 minutes late with an agenda changed in order to comply with the requests that had been made by ‘One of Us.’

From that moment onwards, we saw a highly sophisticated debate, the best ever to be held at the European Parliament on the banning of EU funding into any activity that involves or presupposes the destruction of human embryos.

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