Archive for September, 2011

couple fined for holding bible study in own home

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

 

A couple in California have been fined after holding Bible studies twice a week in their spacious home in Southern California.

According to City officials in San Juan Capistrano, Chuck and Stephanie Fromm are in violation of a municipal code which prohibits “religious, fraternal or non-profit” organisations in residential neighbourhoods without a permit.

Without any warning, the couple were fined in May, then again in June, for a total of $300 dollars. The Fromms appealed their citations but were denied as City officials insist the couple need a “Conditional Use Permit” and without it could face another $500 for each additional gathering.

The Pacific Justice Institute, which is now defending the couple in a lawsuit against the city, said a conditional use permit can be costly and difficult to obtain as it will require traffic and environmental impact reports and making the home accessible to wheelchairs.

“Imposing a heavy-handed permit requirement on a home Bible study is outrageous,” said Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute. “An informal gathering in a home cannot be treated with suspicion by the government, or worse than any other gathering of friends, just because it is religious. We cannot allow this to happen in America, and we will fight as long and as hard as it takes to restore this group’s religious freedom.”

The Fromms have decided to continue their fight all that way to the federal level if necessary. Many neighbours have written letters of support, denying they were disturbed by the presence of the Bible study. The group who meet are not affiliated with any church, nor are they seeking to start a church.

Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern said:

“There has been a marked increase in intolerance towards Christianity in some parts of the United States, part of a wider trend seen in the West as a result of secularism and the creed of political correctness. It is a type of totalitarianism and completely at odds with the American and European tradition of freedom of belief and freedom of speech. The good news is that people are waking up to this and it can be reversed.”

Source

Persecution Times: California City threatens bible study group with fines for not getting a permit to meet

Episcopal Church Insurance Fund VP Says TEC Is Losing a Diocese a Year

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Please watch this video.
Average Sunday Attendance, Easter Attendance, Child Baptisms all down

By David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org

A Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Church Insurance Companies of The Episcopal Church says that TEC has 6,900 parishes and missions worth $20 billion, but average Sunday Attendance (ASA) and all other indicators are down. Church leaders will need to close entities to make the church more mission viable in the future.

Rod Webster said in a video on the state of the state of the church that while TEC’s properties are sometimes as large as denominations twice TEC’s size, to stay efficient an organization needs to build new sites and close ones that are not working.

“The issue we have is the shrinking size of the church, and the fact that closing churches outnumber new churches by two point five to one (2.5 to 1). For every new church that has opened over the last 10 years 2.5 of them have closed. Just over 40 churches each year are closing, based on the data we collect and the data we have managed very carefully over the last 39 months. The number of churches closing are about the size of a very small – admittedly – Episcopal diocese each year.”

Webster said the large number of closings was going on everywhere in all regions of the country. “We’re talking about 40 to 50 closings in a year, averaged over a 10 year period, continuing into the current time.”

Webster noted the weak economy has put economic pressure on parishes. He anticipates a large number of closings in the near future.

“Average Sunday Attendance is down over these time periods. On an annual basis there is a decline of 2% ASA year-by-year over the 10 year period.” From 2001-2009 ASA declined by 20%, an average decline of 2% a year. Easter attendance is down 4% a year over the 10-year period – a decline of 37% from 2001 – 2009 – a decline of 2% a year. Child baptisms are down 3% a year over the same period, between 2001 – 2009 child baptisms declined by 30%.

Webster opined that closing parishes is very time consuming for bishops and diocesan staff.

“Churches get a huge amount of attention from diocesan staff and bishops during the last years as they struggle to stay alive.

“The opposition by the remaining members of the churches is very strong. It’s not a rational response; it’s an emotional response. They are a part of that church. We have seem many cases where the church is populated by two or three families essentially who have been there, at least it seems, forever, and they have no intension of leaving.”

Webster stated that all organizations should open and close entities periodically. Even the healthiest of organizations need to do that. Otherwise, they are not efficient and effective at using their capital effectively.

“A basic element of business is you have to reallocate your resources periodically to achieve your mission. We’ll have to do much more because of this closing issue. We need to get really good at this.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0zed69VVWo&feature=player_embedded#

Meeting heralds new era for episcopacy

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

From Church Times

THE House of Bishops must be ready for a change of culture now, before the final vote on accepting women into the episcopate, Dr Williams heard on Monday.

A day-long conference was hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace on Monday, after discussions with groups such as Women and the Church (WATCH), and the women Deans, Archdeacons, and Residentiary Canons group (DARC).

The day was reflective and wide-ranging in its discussions, said the Rector of St James’s, Piccadilly, the Revd Lucy Winkett. “People talked about issues like clergy couples and flexible working, and the impact on a priest’s vocation — all issues that have been highlighted by the ordination of women. “But we talked more about what it meant to be a priest in a modern age.

There was a general feeling that priesthood has been bureaucratised. “There will be a great culture change for the House of Bishops if women are made bishops, and there was a strong feeling that it would be healthy for more than one woman to be appointed as a bishop at first.” Women had now been priests for more than 17 years, she said, and, as the women-bishops legislation neared its final stages, it was felt that there was a need to look ahead to the future.

Read here

How Bishop Schori dealt with the Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth! in 2007

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Posted on November 27, 2007 by gcmwatch

schori.jpg

Queen Katharine Schori is angry. Again. For the second time she has issued a threat against yet another Episcopal Bishop who refuses to bow to the homosexual golden cow she and Vicky Gene Robinsonhave erected. We reported earlier this month that she issued threats against Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan.

This time, Queen Katharine threatened Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker that he could face discipline for backing proposals to separate from the U.S. church. Bishop Iker has taken steps to withdraw fellowship with the church due to Schori and Robinson’s vindictive campaign against anyone who will not fully submit to the divisive homosexual bishop’s “authority”.

Bishop Iker called Schori’s actions “aggressive, dictatorial posturing.” Well said. While smiling and talking about loving and accepting others, Schori demonstrates her wickedness in the tradition of the wicked Queen Athaliah,  daughter of the super wicked witch of the Bible, Jezebel.

Since the Episcopal Church began its campaign of forced homosexual acceptance, several of its dioceses have pulled away as have many of its largest and most influential local parishes.

SOURCE

Screwtape Proposes an Episcopal Toast (15)

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Never miss an opportunity to twist, prevaricate, slice and dice, shuffle and pervert their wretched gospel at every opportunity…
With apologies to C.S. Lewis

A SATIRICAL ESSAY

By David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org

My dear Wormwood,

The Council of Hades met recently and concluded with a toast to your splendid services for your ongoing magnificent efforts in steering the Episcopal Church so firmly in our direction. A pint of Bishop Pike’s blood was drunk in your honor.

We have not seen its like since the formation of the National Council of Churches and all the smoke blown in peoples’ faces about ecumenicity and, now, all the recent talk of interfaith alliances. It is all such sweet music to our ears. The more befuddlement, the better. The mush god of interfaith talk must be promoted and extended far and wide, just like the call for pansexual acceptance in the name of justice. On no account must faith be personalized and homosexual behavior and its consequences talked about.

We especially like the nice linguistic turns of phrases so prevalent in discourses on pansexuality by various Episcopal bishops.

“We must engage in more than a monologue by having a 21st century conversation on sexual diversity, with new and different voices heard from.” Ah, what sweet music to our ears, Wormwood.

“This [series] will show the variety of viewpoints on issues of sexual diversity among Episcopalians. Each event has a unique focus, and, as a whole, they will lift up new voices that are rarely heard and raise awareness about the impact of church teachings and public stances of the lives of LGBT people.”

We especially like this line. “The goal is to encourage more vigorous, honest, and open debate about sexual diversity within and outside the Episcopal Church.”

Of course we know that this is a flat out lie. The goal is not to encourage more debate … that is modernist code and disingenuous double speak for throwing Church teaching overboard and continuing the revolution of evil that has swamped the Church in the west for half a century … and counting. It is, of course, precisely what we want you to encourage.

So it is very important, my dear Wormwood, to regularly update the language to make it sound more, shall we say, inclusive and heart-warming…it certainly warms our Father’s heart to see more and more folk drop into our camp. The little bishop of Iowa, Walter Righter fell into our Father’s House this past week swelling the ranks of Episcopal bishops. Have no fear, we have plenty of spaces for more heretical bishops. Our Father awaits their coming.

That Ragsdale woman who heads the Episcopal Divinity School said, “Abortion is a Blessing…and our work is not done”. What a gem. If only we could clone her and put her in every seminary in America. That she is also President and Executive Director of something called Political Research Associates, which describes itself as “a progressive think tank devoted to supporting movements that are building a more just and inclusive democratic society,” is such sweet music to our ears, Wormwood. Under no circumstances must doctrine or Scripture enter into any sort of dialogue when talk of inclusivity is raised. Inclusion must exclude any talk of moral absolutes. Keep them talking about “spirituality” not the Holy Spirit.

Promoting sodomy in the name of academic freedom is a mantra worth repeating.

The Listening Process, which everyone knows has nothing to do with listening at all, must be continued if just to blow fog in the faces of those damnable orthodox Global South bishops. It is all a subterfuge to broker in pansexuality and dumb down Global South bishops into thinking their point of view is being honored and respected. We know, of course, that it is not so, it must be maintained at all costs, even when Rowan departs Lambeth Palace – a huge loss I might point out. His waffling and prevarications on moral issues along with his near total inability to articulate a faith anybody could remotely understand got agent Slubgob a special commendation from Our Father.

The broader cultural wars talk of “chastity” and “virginity” must be expunged or, at the very least, diluted in the name of being “pastoral”. “Pastoral” should be translated as concerned, caring, and, above all, non judgmental. People must be true to themselves, whatever that is and wherever it may lead. Under no circumstances must they bow the knee to Him. Man must be the measure of all things and the highest authority. Being “pastoral” undermines the very salvation we want them to avoid. We know that “pastoral” is a code word for cowardice and, in some cases, agreement. Fill the universities and seminaries with men and women who are pastoral types, simpering milquetoast, weak, spineless, ineffectual and bland persons of all shades of opinion; pastors who can’t wait to fall all over themselves being pastoral to all who knock on their door. Being “pastoral” threatens to seriously undermine the very salvation of those in their care.

This continual furtherance of the homosexual agenda in The Episcopal Church must be pushed to new and higher levels of full inclusion of ALL sexualities. If you can include the S & M bondage crowd, cross dressers and all manner of decadent types, by, all means, do so. The church must be made to feel their pain of exclusion. Keep Episcopal bishops riding in open Cadillacs at gay pride parade days waving to crowds so they can be seen for how wonderfully inclusive and open and caring they are. What poor fools and dupes they have become Wormwood. Every time there is a gay parade of one sort or another, our Father holds a feast in anticipation of their coming. We particularly like this from the Diocese of Atlanta. “Integrity Atlanta maintains an open and welcoming atmosphere encouraging the participation in the service of all people whether female or male, straight or gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, questioning, African American, Hispanic, Latino, white, black, brown — the entire rainbow of God’s created humanity.”

What we especially like is that there is absolutely no protection of children. These fools, including the Bishop of Atlanta, expose the “least of these” – vulnerable children – to this wholesale perversion. How positively delicious, Wormwood. Keep it up.

Your seduction of the innocent is working brilliantly. The oppression of those who must have an abortion, regardless of the spiritual, eternal, emotional and personal cost, must be buried beneath a woman’s right to do exactly as she pleases with her body regardless of personal and societal consequences. A woman must be made to feel liberated even if her immortal soul is endangered. We must never let people know that sexual liberation can lead to soul damnation.

Continue to turn up the heat by revisionist Episcopal bishops on the dwindling orthodox in the name of inclusion. The oppression of the oppressed must be sustained at all costs. Keep the property wars going; deplete their financial resources till their coffers run dry on both sides. We win either way.

Keep the magenta crowd (bishops) more focused on the weight of the cross around their necks than on the weightier meaning of the cross for their salvation. Of course we know that most TEC bishops have rejected the true meaning of the cross these days, which was the brilliant work of one of your predecessors. Liberal theology, Gay Theology, Interfaith alliances, and Liberation theology is all a continuum, Wormwood, that leads straight to hell and to Our Father. The Episcopal bishops, led by that Presiding Bishop woman, meeting in Ecuador this week have resurrected the dead dog of Liberation Theology. I doubt we could have made this stuff up. Our Father was in danger of busting a gut when he heard the news.

Keep up the good work, Wormwood. Never miss an opportunity to twist, prevaricate, slice and dice, shuffle and pervert their wretched gospel at every opportunity…

I remain your affectionate uncle,

Largest Anglican Church Congregation in Canada Leaves Buildings, Puts Faith into Action

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Sep 22: church office at 2325 Burrard St. New telephone number: 604.558.4400 Sep 25: first services at 5350 Baillie Street (37th Ave between Cambie+Oak)

This picture from the website!

  • St. John’s Vancouver leaves 100-year historic location
  • Prefers to ‘keep the faith’ and give up prime real estate
  • Mixed emotions as congregation moves to new location

VANCOUVER, BC September 22, 2011St. John’s Vancouver Anglican Church, the largest Anglican congregation in Canada, will begin Sunday services at a new location after moving from its historic location on Granville Street and Nanton Avenue. The congregation, through a lengthy legal action, chose to leave their buildings rather than compromise their beliefs.

St. John’s Vancouver, which had been meeting at the Granville Street location for almost 100 years, will begin Sunday services on September 25 at Oakridge Adventist Church, at West 37th Avenue and Baillie Street in Vancouver.

Disagreement over basic Christian beliefs has separated Anglican congregations around the world into two camps, usually labeled orthodox and liberal, with those holding to historic, Bible-based values and beliefs in the vast majority. The St. John’s Vancouver Anglican congregation has aligned itself with the mainstream global Anglican Church, rather than continue as part of the local, more liberal Diocese of New Westminster. Read the rest of this entry »

Christianity and High Culture

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Rather, he wants Christians to remember that they are not actually called to change the world, but to be faithful witnesses in the world.

I have been reading James Davison Hunter’s disturbing book To Change the World – The Irony, Tragedy and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World. Davison Hunter’s thesis is even though Christians desperately and sincerely want to engage the world for the better, they are actually pretty bad at doing it. In fact, Christians have embraced strategies that cannot hope to bring about change in the world.

There’s lots to say about this provocative read, but one particular thing caught my eye. Davison Hunter points out that evangelicalism as a movement is prodigious at cultural production at a popular level (especially in the US) but has almost no traction in ‘high’ culture.

For example: the Christian publishing industry is multi-million dollar phenomenon, with its own publishing houses and its own bookshops. But very few titles cross-over into the mainstream, and almost all of these are what you would call ‘popular’ (think, The Shack or Left Behind). In the echelons of literary publishing there is almost no Christian presence at all.

There’s good reasons for this. The instinct of true Christianity is thoroughly egalitarian, in recognition of the significance of every human individual and the universal appeal of the gospel. Elitism is abhorrent to true Christianity and especially to missionary Christianity. As Davison Hunter says, ‘elitism for believers is despicable and utterly anathema to the gospel they cherish’.

Heaven forbid that churches, of all places, become the sites of exclusion and condescension.

But populism has its own vices. As Davison Hunter puts it:
the populism that is inherent to authentic Christian witness is often transformed into an oppressive egalitarianism that will suffer no distinction between higher and lower or better and worse. At its worst, it can take form as a ‘tyranny of the majority’ that will recognise no authority, nor hierarchy of value or quality or significance. When populism becomes a cultural egalitarianism, there is no incentive and no encouragement to excellence. (p. 94)

The dilemma that arises from this observation is this: the evangelical movement, which has aspirations to changing the world and not just winning souls, is addicted to a populism which is at odds with what we know about ‘the dynamics of world-changing’. The world is not changed by popular culture. The world (as Davison Hunter shows) is changed by the making of what we might call ‘high’ culture. This is not elitism: it is simply true. A work of superior aesthetic quality by its nature has a superior power to impact the world in which it is encountered.

As Davison Hunter says:
there is an unavoidable tension between pursuing excellence and the social consequences of its achievement; between leadership and an elitism that all too often comes with it. Is it possible to pursue excellence and, under God’s sovereignty, be in a position of influence and privilege and not be ensnared by the trappings of elitism? (p. 94)

The trouble is, too, that this tendency to populism means that evangelical Christianity often imbibes the worst features of popular culture – its shallowness, its brittleness and its attention deficit disorder, for example.

Davison Hunter is not calling on Christians to produce more operas so that we can extend our influence in the upper echelons of power in society. Rather, he wants Christians to remember that they are not actually called to change the world, but to be faithful witnesses in the world. The absence of Christians from these cultural forms is a failure of the call faithfully to witness to Christ in all the world. As he says: ‘The failure to encourage excellence in vocation in our time has fostered a culture of mediocrity in so many areas of vocation’ (p. 95).

This notion of faithful witness is what the martyrs of the early church period bequeathed to us as our inheritance. They were not about a grab for power – about get Christian hands on the levers of government so that the world might be more obviously ordered to Christian ends. They were instead about testifying to Christ whatever the cost. And actually: this was a more effective strategy for world-changing, as it turned out.