Archive for February, 2012

I’m very confused. Is abortion a ‘woman’s choice’ or is it ‘morally repugnant’?

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

by Hilary White, LifeSite News

Yesterday, it seems everyone flew into a tizzy because the Daily Telegraph reported that abortion facilities are allowing women to abort their children if the child is the “wrong” sex. The papers and politicians are saying that “sex-selective abortion” is illegal and “morally wrong.” In fact, the whole business has upset everyone so much that Scotland Yard is now involved.
But I’m afraid I just don’t understand, England. Hadn’t you accepted the abortionist movement’s assertion that abortion is always a “woman’s choice”? Isn’t it supposed to be entirely a “private decision between the woman and her doctor”? I had understood that you believe it is the woman’s choice alone that makes the act “moral.”
Yet here we have one of your elected officials, Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, saying yesterday, “sex-selective abortion is morally wrong” because it isn’t on the list of accepted reasons. Today he wrote in The Telegraph: “Carrying out an abortion on the grounds of gender alone is in my view morally repugnant.”
Do I understand this correctly? It is morally wrong to kill someone specifically because she is a girl (and I am going to assume specifically because he is a boy, though this seems never to be mentioned out loud), but you can certainly kill a girl because you just don’t really feel like having a child at all, of either sex.
Or, as the law currently permits, if the girl is suspected of being “severely handicapped”? To clarify: it is morally wrong to kill a child specifically because she is female, but not morally wrong to kill a child who has Down’s syndrome, but just happens to be female at the same time? Or, to look at it another way, is it “morally repugnant,” as Mr. Lansley says, to kill a female child who, let us say, has a cleft palate or a club foot and who also happens to be female if your reason is not a loathing of these malformations but a loathing of female children? This seems odd because the end result is precisely the same.
Quite honestly, I’m surprised you are bothered. It seemed that after a few troubled nights, the whole issue of killing children for their disabilities really just didn’t seem to worry you too much at all.

Mixed-up five-year-olds and the alarming growth of the gender identity industry

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

By Paul Bracchi, Mailonline

The Tavistock Clinic is based in an anonymous concrete building in North London. Once there, you have to go to the third floor to find the Orwellian-sounding Gender Identity Development Unit.

The unit received £1,042,000 in funding last year from the local healthcare Trust. In layman’s terms, it treats patients who believe they are ‘trapped in the wrong body’.

Few would associate such a place with children barely old enough to attend school.

But it emerged this week that a little boy called Zach Avery, just five years old, now wears his hair permanently in bunches after being assessed by ‘experts’ at the Tavistock and ‘coming out’ as a girl.

And Zach is not an isolated case.

Over the past year, 165 children have been referred to the clinic’s team of social workers, child psychotherapists, psychologists and psychiatrists.

Seven children under the age of five were officially diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder (GID) — when a person is born one gender, but feels they are the other.

Read here

God, Marriage and Gender: Why We Are Where We Are

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Picture of Revd John RichardsonSexuality in Western society: the story so far

Until very recently, the dominant view of sex and marriage in Western culture for over a century had been governed by two distinct, but nonetheless overlapping, frames of thought.
On the hand, the churches upheld and offered marriage as the proper context for sex and the basis of family life.
The theological justification for this was largely assumed rather than expressed. But if pushed, most Christians would have taken a position something like that expressed in the 1663 Book of Common Prayer — that marriage was for the avoiding of immorality, the begetting of children and the mutual society help and comfort husband and wife ought to have from one another.
Yet even without the undergirding of religious belief, society generally took the ‘common sense’ view that, given the hazards of illegitimate children and venereal disease, sex was best kept within the bounds of marriage.
People might ‘push the envelope’ of this in personal practice or philosophical principle. The avant garde lived up to their name in being ‘ahead of the rest’, but few were willing to adopt a truly radical lifestyle.
‘Secular’ society and the Church thus agreed — one might even say colluded — in maintaining the status quo of marriage as a social ‘norm’.
The sexual revolution
All that began to change in the 1960s, which saw what soon became known as the ‘sexual revolution’. How much of a revolution it would turn out to be, few realized at the time.
It is important to recognize, however, that the success of this revolution was largely a result of advances in technology. Read more

The Science of Thought

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

 

View  Joy February 2012 Issue >>
Every single thought – whether positive or negative – goes through the same cycle when it forms. Thoughts are basically electrical impulses, chemicals and neurons. They look like a tree with branches.As the thoughts develop and become permanent, more branches grow and the connections become stronger. As we change our thinking, some branches go away, new ones form, the strength of the connections change, and the memories network with other thoughts. What an incredible capacity of the brain to change and rewire and grow! Spiritually, this is what we call renewing the mind.

As you think, your thoughts are activated, which in turn determines your attitude, because your attitude is all of your thoughts put together and reflects your state of mind. This attitude is formed in the chemical secretions that are released. Positive attitudes cause the secretion of the correct amount of chemicals, and negative attitudes distort the chemical secretions in a way that disrupts their natural flow. The chemicals are like little cellular signals that translate the information of your thought into a physical reality in your body and mind, creating an emotion. The combination of thoughts, emotions and resulting attitude impacts your body in a positive or negative way. This means your mind and body really are inherently linked, and this link starts with your thoughts.

As you are reading, perhaps you have some classical music playing in the background.  You might be sitting in a comfortable chair, smelling the freshly mowed lawn through an open window and savouring a piece of fruit. If you were in this idyllic setting, all five of your senses – sight, sound, smell, touch and taste – would be your contact between the external world and your internal world, thereby activating your mind.

FIVE SENSES:
The Doorway

As the information from your five senses pours into your brain, your brain is gathering electrical impulses through your peripheral nerves (the lines of communication between your brain and your body). These senses become the doorway into your intellect, influencing your free will and your emotions. The first step in the process, the forming of a thought and the gathering of electrical impulses, makes sense of the information coming in from your five senses.  This incoming information then travels through some astonishing brain structures that flavour, enrich and distribute the information all along the way.  The information is taken to a place where you can decide on the permanence of that data and whether it becomes part of who you are.

The most exciting fact on this journey is the brain’s ability to react to toxic versus non-toxic information and the many opportunities we have to accept or reject the incoming info. You can control the incoming information and get rid of what you don’t want before it takes root.

Once the information has entered your brain through any of your five senses, it passes a major transmitter station (the Thalamus) that monitors and processes this information. The Thalamus is the meeting point for almost all the nerves that connect the different parts of the brain. You can equate the Thalamus to an air traffic controller. There isn’t a signal from your environment that does not pass through the Thalamus. It connects the brain to the body and body to the brain. It allows the entire brain to receive large amounts of important data from the external and internal worlds all at once.

The Thalamus transmits the electrical data throughout your brain, activating existing thoughts (or nerve cells) in the outer part of the brain, the cerebral cortex, to help you understand the incoming information. This activation of existing thoughts is what I call the “breeze through the trees” stage. The nerve cells in the cerebral cortex look like trees in a forest, and the activation sweeps through like a wind, bringing the existing thoughts into consciousness. This wonderfully complex transmission of information through the cerebral cortex, alerts and activates attitude. Attitude is a state of mind (all thoughts on the trees) that influences our choices and what we say and do as a result of these choices.

If the attitude activated in the cerebral cortex is negative, then the emotional response will naturally be a negative or stressed feeling within the depths of your mind.  If the attitude is positive, the feeling will be peaceful.  The truth is your attitude will be revealed no matter how much you try to hide it. Then the activated attitude – positive or negative – is transmitted from the Thalamus down to the Hypothalamus.

The Hypothalamus is like a chemical factory where the thought-building processes happens and where the type and amount of chemicals released into the body are determined.  The Thalamus signals the Hypothalamus to chemically prepare a response to your thoughts.

The Endocrine System is a collection of glands and organs that mostly produce and regulate your hormones. The Hypothalamus is often referred to as the “brain” of the Endocrine System, controlling things like thirst, hunger, body temperature and the body’s response to your emotional life.  The Hypothalamus is like a pulsating heart responding to your emotions and thought life, greatly impacting how you function emotionally and intellectually.

This means that if you are anxious or worried about something, the Hypothalamus responds to this anxious and worrying attitude with a flurry of stress chemicals engaging the Pituitary Gland – the master gland of the Endocrine System. The Endocrine System secretes the hormones responsible for organising the trillions of cells in your body to deal with any impending threats. Negative thoughts shift your body’s focus to protection and reduce your ability to process and think with wisdom or grow healthy thoughts.

On the other hand, if you change your attitude and determine to apply God’s excellent advice not to worry, the Hypothalamus will cause the secretion of chemicals that facilitate the feeling of peace, and the rest of the brain will respond by secreting the correct “formula” of neurotransmitters (chemicals that transmit electrical impulses) for thought building and clear thinking. Although you may not be able to control your environment all the time, you can control how it affects your brain.   How?  Well, this incoming information is still in a temporary state.  It has not yet lodged itself into your memory or become a part of your spirit, which defines who you are.   You can choose to reject the presently–activated thoughts and the incoming information, or you can let the information make its way into your mind (soul) and your spirit, eventually subsiding in your non-conscious, which dominates who you are.

Even though you can’t always control your circumstances, you can make fundamental choices that will help you control your reaction to your circumstances and keep toxic input out of your brain.

To help us make good choices, we have the Amygdala and Hippocampus. The Amygdala deals with the passionate, perceptual emotions attached to incoming thoughts and all the thoughts already in your head. The Hippocampus deals with memory and motivation.  Now this is where you consciously step up to centre stage, needing to make a decision whether or not these incoming thoughts will become part of who you are.

The Amygdala, a double almond-shaped structure located in your brain, is designed to protect you from any threat to your body and mind – such as danger or stress.  It puts the passion behind the punch of memory formation by influencing the Hippocampus to pay attention to more established information.  The Amygdala deals with both positive love-based emotions like joy and happiness, as well as negative fear-based emotion like sadness, anger and jealousy.The Thalamus alerts the Amygdala of any incoming information from the five senses, so the already alerted Amygdala literally adds its “thumb print” to the incoming information – flavouring it with emotional spice. How does it do this?

The Amygdala is like a library, storing the emotional perceptions that occur each time a thought is built. In other words, every time we build a memory, we activate emotions.  The Endocrine System and the brain have to release the correct chemicals (the molecules of emotion and information) necessary for building healthy or toxic memories.

Because the Amygdala is in constant communication with the Hypothalamus (which secretes chemicals in response to your thought life), we are able to feel our body’s reaction to our thoughts. These physical reactions (rapid heartbeat and adrenalin rushes) force us to decide whether to accept or reject the information based on how we feel physically.  To help us even more, the Amygdala has lines of communication connected to the frontal lobe, which controls reasoning, decision-making, analysing and strategising – all executive level functions. This connection enables us to balance the emotions we physically experience and react reasonably.

Here is the exciting part: we can decide at this moment to say things like: ”I choose not to think about this issue anymore,”  and those temporary thoughts will disappear.  The choice to not think about the thoughts will send them away; they simply fade. But if we don’t stop thinking about the issue, with either negative or positive thoughts, all the information including the awakened toxic or non-toxic attitude will flow into a sea horse-shaped structure called the Hippocampus and entrench themselves.

The Hippocampus is a sort of clearing house for thoughts. It classifies incoming information as having either short or long-term importance and “files” it accordingly, converting temporary thoughts into permanent thoughts that become part of who you are (a lot of this happens at night whilst you are sleeping).

To do this, the Hippocampus needs to work with the central hub of the brain – a whole group of structures that integrate all the activated memories and work with the Hippocampus to convert information into your permanent memory storage.

This is where we begin some serious reflection in order to make life-changing decisions. Ask yourself, “do I want this information to be a part of me or not?”

A good point to remember is that toxic memories create stress and the Hippocampus is extremely vulnerable to stress, as it is rich in stress hormone receptors (tiny ‘doorways’ on cells that receive chemical information) that are normally used to reinforce memories.  For these brain cells, excessive stress is like setting off a firecracker in a glass jar, causing the Hippocampus to lose cells and shrink. This affects the communication between the Hippocampus and the central hub of the brain, keeping it from building good memories.

We have to recognise how toxic thoughts in the brain can disrupt the process if we are going to understand how we are negatively affected in our mental life and behaviour. As we start to understand how a thought forms and impacts our emotions and bodies, we have two choices: we can let our thoughts become toxic and poisonous, or we can detox our negative thoughts, which will improve our emotional wholeness and even recover our physical health.

What would you prefer????

“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on Heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live.”      Deuteronomy 30:19

You have been experiencing the affects of all your thoughts your entire life and may not have even known it! For example, have you ever become ill in the wake of a difficult or traumatic event? You may not have made the connection, just chalking it up as coincidence, when it was more likely to have been the result of toxic thoughts taking their toll on your overall health. Thoughts are not only scientifically measurable, but we can verify how they affect our bodies.

We can actually feel our thoughts and emotions.

Emotions are involved in every thought we build, ever have built and ever will build. In fact, with every memory you make, you have a corresponding emotion attached to it, which is stored in your brain, and as a photocopy in your body’s cells. Emotions are attached to thoughts. These emotions are very real and link your thoughts to the reaction in your body and mind. This is called the psychosomatic network. They can surface even years after an event has occurred, when the memory of that event is recalled.

To demonstrate how this works, take a minute to focus on an upsetting recent event in your life.  As you deeply think about this event, become aware of how you are feeling and how your body is reacting to these thoughts and emotions. Rethinking and imagining the event are activating a cascade of chemicals. The more you ponder, the stronger and more vivid this cascade becomes. You may even start to become angry, frustrated or upset.  You will start reacting to the thought mentally and physically as though it were happening all over again. What you think about expands and grows, taking on a life of its own.

What you choose to think about can foster joy, peace and happiness or the complete opposite. In fact, your thoughts create changes right down to genetic levels, restructuring the cell’s makeup. Scientists have shown this restructuring is how diseases are able to take hold in the body.  On the flip side, when we choose non-toxic thinking, we step into a whole new realm of brain and body function. “Feel good” chemicals are released that make us feel peaceful and also promote healing, memory formation and deep thinking, which increases intelligence when combined together. Healthy, non-toxic thoughts help nurture and create a positive foundation in the neural networks of the mind.

These positive thoughts strengthen positive reaction chains and release biochemicals, such as endorphins and serotonin, from the brain’s natural pharmacy.  Bathed in these positive environments, intellect flourishes, and with it, mental and physical health.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”                    Philippians 4:8

 

Read More – well worth the time!

A first-century fragment of Mark found?

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) — Much of the biblical scholarly world has been buzzing since Feb. 1, when a New Testament professor made a claim during a debate that was news to most everyone who heard it — a first-century fragment of Mark’s Gospel may have been found.

It would be the earliest-known fragment of the New Testament, placing it in the very century of Christ and the apostles.

The claim by Dallas Theological Seminary’s Daniel B. Wallace took place during a debate with University of North Carolina professor Bart Ehrman, an author whose popular books claim the New Testament cannot be trusted because the original manuscripts aren’t in existence.

The Mark fragment has yet to be made public, but Wallace provided a few more details on his website, saying information about the fragment would be published in the form of a book in “about a year.”

“It was dated by one of the world’s leading paleographers,” Wallace wrote. “He said he was ‘certain’ that it was from the first century.”

But if it is true that a first-century fragment has been found, it would be big news both in the scholarly world and in the larger Christian world.

Baptist Press asked Andreas Köstenberger, senior professor of New Testament and biblical theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological in Wake Forest, N.C., to explain the significance of a possible first-century Mark fragment. Köstenberger attended the Wallace-Ehrman debate.

BAPTIST PRESS: If there is a first-century fragment of the Gospel of Mark, what is the significance?

KOSTENBERGER: Currently, the earliest known available Gospel fragment is p52 (the John Rylands papyrus), which contains portions of John 18 and dates to around A.D. 125. So any find that gets us a quarter-century or so closer to the time the original Gospels were written would be highly significant, even sensational. Of course, in part the significance of the discovery depends on the size of the fragment, not to mention the verification of the date. There have been previous reports of discoveries of early Mark or other Gospel manuscripts that did not check out at closer scrutiny, so it is certainly appropriate to maintain scholarly caution until the full data are known and available to public scrutiny. For example, some scholars got burned when they prematurely accepted so-called “Secret Mark,” which turned out to be a forgery (see Stephen Carlson’s “The Gospel Hoax”).

BAPTIST PRESS: Any guess as to why an announcement is being held back? Why the secrecy?

KOSTENBERGER: Apparently, the publisher is E.J. Brill, one of the world’s leading publishers of high-quality academic work. Presumably, the volume, when it appears approximately one year from now, will contain not only the first-century fragment of Mark but several other early manuscripts that have been found (though not dating to the first century). The Brill volume will no doubt contain all the technical details as to verification of the date, circumstances of the find, and an assessment of its significance. It makes sense for the details of the find to be withheld until the publication of the volume so that this data can be fully vetted by the scholarly community at that time. Doubtless there will be skeptics who, recognizing the potential significance of the discovery, will attempt to challenge the authenticity and/or date of the fragment.

BAPTIST PRESS: Some readers may be wondering: If we don’t have the original copy of Mark’s Gospel, how can we trust that what we have is what Mark wrote?

KOSTENBERGER: The fact is that the earliest manuscripts of all or parts of Mark that we do have show remarkable consistency and stability. And none of the minor variations between different manuscripts affect any major doctrine of Christianity at all. Of course, there is no way to prove positively one way or another what might have happened during the period between the original writing of Mark and the first available copies. Knowing what we do know about the care with which ancient Jews as well as early Christians took to preserve the original wording of what they believed to be authoritative and sacred writings — in fact, the very words of God — inspires a high degree of confidence. First the apostles, and then those after them carefully guarded the reliability of the eyewitness testimony to Jesus contained in the four canonical Gospels.
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Michael Foust is associate editor of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

ELM GROVE, WI: Anglican Parish Retaken by Episcopal Diocese Lies Empty

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

By David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org
February 2012

For 65 years, four generations of priests have faithfully preached the gospel to 3,400 Episcopalians at St. Edmund’s Episcopal Church. It has been no small achievement. Elm Grove is not one of the highest density populations in America, but its bucolic setting in Waukesha County has a population of some 6,500, most of them Christians of one denominational stripe or another.

On January 31, the congregation’s world came to a shattering end. The priest, the Rev. Dr. Samuel Scheibler was removed from his church buildings at 14525 West Watertown Plank Road, Elm Grove, by judicial order. It was a devastating moment for the priest who has served the church for more than 3 years.

The Episcopal Church has taken a theological and moral turn for the worst and advocates a gospel that is no gospel at all, as well as a sexual pathway that this and many Episcopal churches across the country find totally unacceptable. They have declared themselves in broken communion. Hundreds of churches have left The Episcopal Church along with tens of thousands of parishioners. It has been a journey without end.

The Rt. Rev. Steven Andrew Miller, the eleventh bishop of Milwaukee, completely bought into The Episcopal Church’s liberal positions and was not prepared to negotiate for the property. Today the church stands empty.

“We are a high church evangelical congregation with a deep commitment to Christ and his gospel,” the Rev. Dr. Samuel P. Scheibler told VOL. “The loss of this uniquely styled modern church campus with its strong emotional ties yet sincere spiritual appeal was great. It’s a huge loss for the loving investment of time and energy of our people over the years to a place dedicated to the glory of God, but we leave taking the gospel with us. We will more than survive the loss. Ultimately, God dwells in temples not made with hands.”

The church has been renamed St. Edmund’s Anglican Church (CANA) under the sacred care of the Convocation of Anglican Churches in North America (CANA), a branch of the Anglican Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and a constituent member of the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA). Its bishop is the Rt. Rev. Julian Dobbs.

In 2008, St. Edmund’s became the first congregation in Wisconsin to withdraw from the Episcopal Church and joined the “Anglican Realignment” movement. Unlike its Episcopal Church counterpart, these now orthodox Anglicans defend the supreme authority of Holy Scripture and with it Scripture’s unequivocal stand on faith and morals.

Bishop Julian Dobbs, who oversees the Wisconsin church, described St. Edmund’s rector as being a “shepherd with utmost integrity, clarity and complete dependence upon Almighty God.

“For the people of St. Edmund’s Anglican Church the issue never concerned the buildings but rather the unchanging and unchangeable nature of the Word of God. We do not believe that the ‘Faith once and for all delivered to all who believe” (Jude 3) is merely a starting point for discussions about belief, morality and Christian practice but is a sure and unshakable foundation from which we cannot and shall not be moved. We did not leave the Episcopal Church; they left us,” said Scheibler.

“We honestly believed that under Wisconsin statutes the fact that the property deeds registered in Waukesha County for the church and rectory are solely in the name of the congregation and that a warranty deed was registered in 1955 by the Diocese of Milwaukee guaranteeing the congregation’s ownership of the property meant that the congregation owned the property. We did not want to create conflict, but sincerely believed that we were defending the higher ground in a matter of moral principle. The Waukesha County Court interpreted Wisconsin law differently. This part of our journey of Faith is over and we have moved on.”

Dr. Scheibler said he is saddened that the attorney for the Episcopal Church, Mr. Adam M. Chud, in addressing the Court on 15 December, stated that “our congregation should be expelled immediately (Christmas, weather, our Preschool and other considerations notwithstanding ‘as Episcopalians waiting for the building have been more than patient’) only to discover that the Diocese of Milwaukee has no plans to hold services on the site in the near future. In his announcement of the Court decision, Bishop Steven Miller of Milwaukee stated that he was ‘glad that the property would be returned to its intended use…” We were told to “quit” the property by 7:00 pm on 31 January or several of us would face arrest for trespassing. The property now sits empty. For this, we grieve.

“The Village of Elm Grove has suffered a loss. A vital and vibrant community of Faith with a growing and compassionate Christian School, Preschool, and Daycare is gone and a derelict building lies still. St. Edmund’s Anglican Church (CANA) is healthy, secure and still serving Elm Grove from our new ‘home’ with our brethren at Elm Grove Evangelical Lutheran Church. A parish of the Anglican Communion is still holding weekly services in Elm Grove. The Episcopal Church took our buildings, but we kept the Faith. We are grateful to be a Parish of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA).”

Dr. Scheibler also told VOL that the week that he and the church were sued in 2009, Elm Grove Evangelical Lutheran Church (LCMS)’s entire Board came to their church office after Friday morning Bible Study and said, “We’ve been praying for you and if you need a place to go, come to us.”

“That was three long years ago…and now we are at home with them,” concluded Dr. Scheibler. In the words of St. Paul, “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

END

PHILADELPHIA: Bishop Bennison Lays Down Law to Clergy on Performing Same-Sex Marriages

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

By David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org
February  2012

The disgraced, revisionist Bishop of Pennsylvania Charles E. Bennison has written to his diocesan priests saying that he anticipates General Convention will approve same sex blessings at its upcoming General Convention in Indianapolis this summer, and any priest in his diocese who fails to perform them on demand could face disciplinary proceedings.

“At least he is consistent in his pansexual gnosticism and his bullying manner until he gets his way,” said one of perhaps 15 remaining orthodox priests in the diocese who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation. “Charles is throwing yet another temper tantrum as he makes statements contrary to the canons of the Church let alone Scripture and tradition. He cannot make same sex blessings mandatory for his clergy. He possesses neither the authority nor the power. The lamentable captain of the Titanic stood in higher regard with his passengers and crew than Bennison is with God, the wider Church and the clergy of the Diocese.”

It is a clear warning that Bennison, who was on the verge of being tossed out of the diocese for conduct unbecoming a bishop but slipped through the cracks because of the Statute of Limitations, is now firmly back in control with his trademark signature bullying and coercing the few faithful priests into strict conformity with his revisionist views.

In a note to the clergy on The Commemoration of Absalom Jones, Bennison wrote to “clergy colleagues” saying, “I am very concerned that to date only 43 of us have registered for the Conference on Rites for Blessing Same – Gender Relationships on February 21- a week from tomorrow. This means that a large number of us may not be adequately prepared to respond pastorally, either to people’s reactions to this summer’s General Convention vote on rites proposed by the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music in response to Resolution C-056 at the 2009 General Convention, or to same gender couples who may ask us to use the rites for the blessing of their relationships if, as seems likely, Convention adopts them.

“Unless the implementing resolution states otherwise, none of us, should we be asked to bless the relationship of a same-gender couple, may refuse to do so on the basis of their sexual orientation.”

This is a clear warning that clergy who disobey what GC2012 will predictably pass could face disciplinary proceedings if they are asked to perform a same-sex blessing and refuse to do so.

The performance of these acts clearly violates Scripture, tradition and history.

Bennison has assembled a group of liberal heavy hitters to promote his case to the diocese. They include The Rev. Dr. Patrick Malloy, Associate Dean and Professor of Liturgics, The General Theological Seminary, and Chair of the SCLM Task Force that has gathered the materials for the proposed rites. He will be the keynote speaker. Other speakers include the Rev. Dr. Storm Swain, the Rev. Dr. Adam Kradel, the Rt. Rev. Rodney Michel, Dr. Nora Johnson, Robert Mikrut and Kenneth Garner.

FOR THE RECORD: Patrick Malloy is a homosexual and canonically resident in the Diocese of Bethlehem. Bishop Robert Duncan (Pittsburgh) declined to ordain him due to his inability to subscribe to the biblical definition of marriage and sexualit