Why the Media Doesn’t Cover Jihadist Attacks on Middle East Christians

“To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace”—Hebrews 6:6

The United Nations, Western governments, media, universities, and talking heads everywhere insist that Palestinians are suffering tremendous abuses from the state of Israel.  Conversely, the greatest human rights tragedy of our time—radical Muslim persecution of Christians, including in Palestinian controlled areas—is devotedly ignored.

The facts speak for themselves.

And you can read them here.

 

Syria…

Pictures emerge of thousands of residents of the Damascus district of Yarmouk, who have remained trapped for nearly a year, queuing for food and aid.

This picture taken on January 31, 2014, and released by the UNRWA on February 26, 2014, shows residents of the besieged Palestinian camp of Yarmouk queuing to receive food supplies in Damascus, Syria

This picture taken on January 31, 2014, and released by the UNRWA on February 26, 2014, shows residents of the besieged Palestinian camp of Yarmouk queuing to receive food supplies in Damascus, Syria…

More here.

 

Men Banned from Becoming Queen…

as 700 years of law redrafted ahead of gay marriage. You just can’t make this stuff up!

Men are to be banned from becoming Queen or Princess of Wales as part of an unprecedented effort to rewrite more than 700 years of law to prevent unintended consequences of gay marriage.

Even a 14th Century act declaring it high treason to have an affair with the monarch’s husband or wife is included in the sweeping redrafting exercise.

Civil servants have drawn up a list of scores of statutes and regulations dating back as far 1285 to be amended or specifically excluded when the Government’s Same-Sex Marriage Act comes into force next month.

Under proposals to be debated by MPs and Peers as early as next week, terms such as “widow” will be deleted or reworded in legislation covering topics as diverse as seamen’s pensions and London cab licences to take account of the new definition of marriage.

References to mothers, fathers, husbands and wives are also to be amended to avoid future confusion.

Rest here.

Avoid confusion?! More like creating it.

The order makes clear that a clause in the Act giving gay and heterosexual   marriage the same legal effect does not apply to the rights of anyone “who marries, or who is married to, the King Regnant, to the title of Queen”.

It also makes clear that were a future Prince of Wales to marry a man his husband could not be called Princess of Wales.

More immediately, the order rules out the possibility of Dukes, Earls and   other male peers who marry other men making their husbands Duchess, Countess or Lady…

 

Parish Makes A Stand Against Church of England Leaders

On same sex blessings:

Times Series: Church rector James Mustard said he expects his parish to release a statement opposing the House of Bishops in the coming weeks

 An East Barnet vicar says his parish is preparing to challenge Church of England leaders after they reiterated their ban on blessing same-sex couples.

The House of Bishops, which governs practice in Anglican churches across England, earlier this month rejected recommendations that it lifts its ban on blessing gay couples.

But the parish of St Mary’s Church in East Barnet says it plans to lodge a protest against the decision and write a formal letter once its members have met later this month.

The parish is a supporting member of Inclusive Church, an organisation campaigning for the acceptance of minorities including lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender couples and individuals.

Same-sex marriages are currently banned inside the Church of England, which is governed by its own historic laws, but some believe it should go some way towards lessening its discrimination by allowing the blessing of gay couples in churches.

Members of the St Mary’s Church council now plan to meet and formulate a statement in response to the House of Bishop’s latest refusal to be moved on the subject.

Church rector James Mustard said he expects his parish to release the statement in the coming weeks and says it is an important subject for the image and ministry of his church in the area.

He said: “The feeling is that this ongoing prohibition on blessing same-sex couples is harmful to our relationship with the community, whether they come to the church or not.

“I think it is important that churches in favour of supporting same-sex couples with blessings should speak out, and we’re preparing to issue a statement opposing the House of Bishops’ decision.”

 

Overzealous Priest Overturns The Tables Of The Money Changers In Church Gift Shop

Eye of the Tiber:

Louisville, KY––In what the police are calling a “fanatical act committed while in the state of a nervous breakdown,” Associate Pastor of St. Margaret Catholic Church in Louisville, Kentucky, Father Randy Coelho, walked into the parish gift shop and began to overturn registers as well as tables containing rosaries, scapulars, and other religious goods earlier this morning.

The incident occurred shortly after the conclusion of the 7pm Mass, when an “overworked” Coelho appeared to have “snapped” following his first four-Mass day since ordination.

“It was very unusual,” said gift shop owner Rosie Culkin. “He’s usually so calm. But he in came screaming at us saying, ‘Is it not written, my house shall be called a house of prayer? But you have made it into a den of thieves.’ So I tried to calm him down and tell him that this was just the gift shop and that the house of prayer was about twenty-feet thataway. But he kept flipping everything over, which really sucked cause we have inventory to do tonight.”

Culkin went on to say that after also telling [Coelho] that it was not a den of thieves because thieves typically do not come into religious gift shops after Mass ready to purchase religious goods with cash or credit. Coelho told police that he just wanted to make sure they were not selling doves. No charges are expected to be filed.

 

Snake Kills Snake-Handler Pastor

The Guardian:

Preachers who practice handle poisonous snakes during church services vow to continue tradition despite deaths and illegality.

Jamie Coots, a pastor in Middlesboro, Kentucky. snake preacher

A pentecostal preacher in Kentucky who died after being bitten by a rattlesnake is being hailed as a martyr by his colleagues, who will continue breaking the law by handling poisonous reptiles during their church services, according to friends.

Jamie Coots “lived and died consistent with his faith” and his death will only inspire more people to obey an instruction from God in the Gospel of Mark that “they shall take up serpents,” said Professor Ralph Hood, of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

“This won’t stop them: just the opposite,” said Hood, a friend of Coots and the most noted expert on the Appalachian serpent-handling tradition. “They will continue, and praise Jamie Coots as a martyr who died for his faith.”

Coots died on Saturday night after being bitten on the right hand during a service at his Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name church. The 42-year-old, who featured prominently in the National Geographic series Snake Salvation, refused medical attention on religious grounds.

His funeral is due to be held in his hometown of Middlesboro on Tuesday evening.

Coots’s son, Cody, said his family had expected him to survive because he had been bitten eight times before. “Everybody was getting in, shouting, taking up serpents, speaking in tongues, handling fire,” he told Kentucky’s WKYT-TV. “You could just feel the power of God.”

Coots had continued flouting a 74-year-old Kentucky law banning the use of poisonous snakes in religious services, even after a woman died from a bite during a ceremony he conducted in 1995. Coots was charged, but avoided prosecution after a judge declined to proceed with the case. He was also fined $6,400 in 2008 after being convicted of illegally trading in poisonous snakes.

Andrew Hamblin, a pastor in neighbouring Tennessee who was mentored by Coots and co-starred with him in the National Geographic series, is understood to have been devastated by the death. The Guardian has been told that he intends to continue his snake-handling services at Tabernacle Church of God…

Rest here.

Junior McCormick handling a rattlesnake as Homer Browing looks on during services at the Church of the Lord Jesus in Kingston, Georgia, in 1995.

 

Weekend Roundup

Here’s some interesting reading for your weekend.

Anglicanism

> The CofE House of Bishops has issued some Pastoral Guidance on homosexual ‘marriage’:

Following their meeting on February 13th 2014 the House of Bishops of the Church of England have today issued a statement of Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage.

The statement comes as an appendix to a pastoral letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York addressed to the clergy and people of the Church of England.

The text of the letter and the statement is here.

> But, they have banned gay priests from ‘marrying’.

… While insisting that traditional doctrines remain unchanged, they added that they recognise that same-sex relationships contain some of the same “virtues” as marriage, upheld by the Church for centuries…

Good grief! Do they have any idea how convoluted, confusing and false this sound?!

> Fr Dwight Longenecker: Anglican Church in Meltdown.

> And while on the subject of confusion (gender-wise), I see Facebook users are to have 50 different gender options from which to select!

> Whatever happened to the Gospel? Good question.

One thing you can always bank on is this: if we preach a wishy-washy gospel, we will end up with wishy-washy Christians. If we proclaim an anaemic message from the pulpits, we will end up with anaemic believers in the pews. If radical discipleship is not taught in our churches, we will not have radical Christian disciples.

One of the greatest tragedies of the Christian church in the West today is that we have lost the gospel. Yes, we have lost the gospel…

> The Episcopal Church (USA) Annual Litigation Summary 2014 is here. Shocking!

Carl Reid> Now in some former-Anglican news: Fr Carl Reid moves from Ottawa to Vancouver Island.

The announcement of Fr. Carl Reid’s upcoming move to Vancouver Island to assist in the Ordinariate there is a great boost to our western brothers and sisters in the Catholic Personal Ordinariate in Canada. While the people of Ottawa will miss his firm and steady leadership both in the parish and in the wider community, at the same time they are thankful that Fr. Carl has worked so well with his colleagues Fathers Hayman and Cooper to ensure a seamless transition.

A faithful pastor to the Ottawa Ordinariate community, Fr. Carl has seen the Parish of the Annunciation through many tests which have brought them safely into full communion with the Holy See over the past few of years.

As a pioneer of the Ordinariate in Canada, we all have much to thank him for. The fledgling missions spread across the country are now poised to welcome more people into full communion from Anglican, Lutheran and Protestant backgrounds as well as many baptized but unconfirmed Catholics who are beginning to look to Ordinariate churches as a way back into the worldwide Catholic family.

By the end of this year, the Ordinariate in North America will have around 100 clergy along with thousands of lay members and with more each month. The upcoming round of voting on issues of doctrine and discipline in various liberal Protestant groups will move many more to seek a way into the unity ensured by the magisterium of the Catholic Church. Ordinariate congregations are well suited to many of those seeking communion with the wider Church while bringing their love of English liturgy, music and pastoral patrimony.

Along with ministry to students and young families, many of the Ordinariate congregations have quite a youthful look compared to the congregations that people have come from. Our commitment to the New Evangelization reaches out to people of all ages and backgrounds.

Fr. Reid will bring his energy and experience to fresh challenges while leaving a growing parish in Ottawa. A heartfelt thank you to him and to Barbara, along with best wishes and prayers as they prepare for the move and a new life and ministry (as well as gardening) on the Pacific Coast. May the road rise to meet them.

> Still with the Ordinariate, Another Pastoral Provision Community has joined.

God’s not dead

> Of course He is not! A new movie coming out:



> Speaking of movies, I see Rick Warren and some other Christian leaders want to rent out theaters for the ‘Son Of God’ premiere:

son-of-god-trailer-slice

Christian leaders, including megachurch pastor Rick Warren, plan to rent every screen in numerous multiplex theaters across 10 cities for the premiere of Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s upcoming Jesus film, “Son of God,” on Feb. 27.

The unusual move reflects the confidence Christian leaders have in Burnett and Downey’s work in the wake of “The Bible,” a hit miniseries on the History channel.

The “Son of God,” an adaption from “The Bible” series, opens in theaters nationwide Feb. 28.

Many religious leaders are citing the movie as a natural opportunity to evangelize. Warren may have a vested interest in the film, since he wrote a curriculum tied to the movie and published by LifeWay Christian Resources.

Cinemark Theaters is scheduling a few large-scale buyouts on Feb. 27, said James Meredith, head of marketing and communications.

“The interest level for meetings, events, screenings and buyouts seems to be on par with that of major blockbuster, tentpole or franchise movies,” said Meredith…

Biblical Archaeology etc.

> Searching for Biblical Mt Sinai:

Where is Mt. Sinai? At a recent colloquium in Israel, an international group of scholars debated the question. At the center of the debate was Har Karkom, a mountain ridge in the Negev Desert that archaeologist Emmanuel Anati believes to be the Biblical Mt. Sinai. Or could Mt. Sinai be in Saudia Arabia, where Moses was thought to have fled after escaping Egypt?

Biblical Mt. Sinai has never been identified archaeologically with any scholarly consensus, though several sites have been considered…

> ASOR has a fine archaeological round up of the week.

If you missed anything from the ASOR facebook or twitter pages this week, don’t worry. We’ve rounded up some of this week’s archaeology news into one convenient post. If we missed any major archaeological stories from this week, feel free to let us know…

> They (ASOR) also have Remembering King David:

James Tissot, David Sees Bathsheba Bathing.

Why didn’t the biblical authors present a more flattering image of King David, and why did they make his stories so complex?

> Should unprovenanced cuneiform tablets be published?

> Watch N. T. Wright on Paul and the Faithfulness of God: A Conversation about Preaching.



> The Biblical site, Beth Shemesh, features here.

Beth Shemesh is an Israelite site located 12 mi. west of Jerusalem in the Sorek Valley where it exits from the Hill Country of Judah into the Shephelah.

Israel

> More ‘Christ At The Check Point’ hypocrisy: In the shadow of death.

… I approached a certain “Christ At The Checkpoint,” (CATC) a Christian conference held in Bethlehem. I wanted the opportunity to speak and honour the memory of my murdered, Christian friend. The conference prides itself on being ecumenical and draws a mixed audience of western Christians and Palestinians. One protagonist of the conference is an Israeli Arab. I hoped that the seeming openness of the CATC towards Israelis coupled with the fact that Kristine was a Christian would grant me a platform. I was declined on the grounds, “there is no space” bizarrely concluding, “this is not what the Lord wants.”

I suspect that I was refused because the CATC manifesto does not allow a voice like mine to be heard…

The Times of Israel has more.

Faith

When you find Christ [in the heart], you are satisfied, you desire nothing else, you find peace. You become a different person. You live everywhere, wherever Christ is. You live in the stars, in infinity, in heaven with the angels, with the saints, on earth with people, with plants, with animals, with everyone and everything.

When there is love for Christ, loneliness disappears. You are peaceable, joyous, full. Neither melancholy, not illness, nor pressure, nor anxiety, nor depression nor hell. When Christ enters your heart, your life changes. Christ is everything. Whoever experiences Christ within himself, experiences ineffable things––holy and sacred things. He lives in exultation…

> Source

Family

> Divorce – A Form of Child Abuse.

> Religious people are more likely to feel they’re addicted to porn, according to a new study.

Feel like you’re addicted to porn? Your religion could have something to do with your answer…

Methodists In Crisis Over Gay Marriage, Church Law

 

Main Entry Image

The dispute among United Methodists over recognition of same-sex couples has lapsed into a doctrinal donnybrook, pitting clergy who are presiding at gay weddings in defiance of church law against proponents of traditional marriage who are trying to stop them.

Since 2011, Methodist advocates for gay marriage have been recruiting clergy to openly officiate at same-sex ceremonies in protest of church policy. In response, theological conservatives have sought formal complaints against the defiant clergy, which could lead to church trials. One scholar has warned that Methodists are “retreating into our various camps” instead of seeking a resolution over an issue the church has formally debated since the 1970s.

“At this point, we have kind of come to the place where we know what the brute facts are,” said Matt Berryman, executive director of Reconciling Ministries Network, which advocates for gay and lesbian Methodists. “Most folks, after 40 years of trying legislative solutions, realize they won’t work. The way forward is to claim what we know to be true. And we’re going to continue doing it in an aggressive way.”

The intensity of the conflict was laid bare over the last several months, when the church tried, convicted and defrocked Frank Schaefer, a Pennsylvania pastor who presided at the wedding of his son to another man. Berryman said the case galvanized Methodists advocating for recognition of gay marriage, increasing donations to the group and traffic on Reconciling Ministries’ online sites. Schaefer has since been traveling the country giving talks and sermons on gay acceptance.

Opponents have also stepped up their organizing. Through statements, videos and conference calls, a theologically conservative Methodist movement called Good News has been pressing church leaders to act when church law, contained in the Methodist Book of Discipline, is violated. “When people choose to break the covenant that holds us together, there has to be some accountability,” said the Rev. Rob Renfroe, Good News’ president.

Last month, a new Methodist group formed called the Wesleyan Covenant Network to support theologically conservative Methodists and keep them from leaving the denomination…

Read on here.

 

Russia Church Shooting

Christian Science Monitor:

On Sunday, a 24-year-old man attacked a Russian Orthodox cathedral in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, a city on the Sakhalin Island in the Pacific. A nun and a parishioner were killed and six others were wounded.

A man employed as a private security guard opened fire Sunday in a cathedral on Russia’s Sakhalin Island in the Pacific, killing a nun and a parishioner and wounding six others, investigators said.

Law enforcement officers detained the 24-year-old man at the scene and were trying to determine why he had attacked the Russian Orthodox cathedral in the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, the Federal Investigative Committee said in a statement. The man worked for a private security firm in the city and was armed with a rifle. His name was not released.

Concerns about security in Russia are especially high because of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, but there was no apparent connection to the games. Sakhalin Island is about 7,500 kilometers (more than 4,500 miles) from Sochi.

The six parishioners who were wounded were hit in the legs and their lives were not in danger, state news agency RIA Novosti reported, citing the regional archbishop.

The gunman entered the cathedral shortly after a service had ended and began shooting at parishioners and religious icons on the wall, priest Viktor Gorbach said in a telephone interview with the LifeNews cable television channel.

He said not too many people were left in the cathedral and some managed to flee, but the nun and a male parishioner tried to stop the attacker and were killed. The priest said the man, who also destroyed a cross, expressed his hatred of the church.

In Moscow, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church honored the dead as heroes.

“Those who died today, they in any case died in the temple of God,” Patriarch Kirill said after a service in a Kremlin cathedral, the Interfax news agency reported. “They tried to prevent that person from defiling our sacred place. They died as heroes, as soldiers on the front line.”

Kirill said the attacker may be mentally ill or may have been influenced by those who speak ill of the church.

The Russian Orthodox Church has been criticized by those who oppose its resurgence and symbiosis with the Kremlin under President Vladimir Putin.

Russian television showed footage of mourners laying flowers and lighting candles outside the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk cathedral.

 

The Art of Confession In an Age of Denial

Christians begin worship with an invitation to confess their sins. This might seem rather grim, but in fact it represents a gloriously counter-cultural testimony to the "admit nothing" world.Christians begin worship with an invitation to confess their sins. This might seem rather grim, but in fact it represents a gloriously counter-cultural testimony to the “admit nothing” world.

Read the post ABC’s Religion and Ethics here.

 

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