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Some Things Said… (Apr 06) (2)

Episcopalians consider freeze on gay bishops

U.S. Episcopal leaders will try to safeguard their membership in the worldwide Anglican Communion by holding back, at least until 2008, on electing new homosexual bishops and on allowing same-sex unions, according to two Episcopal bishops.

Church leaders are even considering “repentance” for the 2003 consecration of New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, an active homosexual, according to Arizona Bishop Kirk S. Smith. –excerpted from an article by Julia Duin in The Washington Times, 04.05.06

Sounds good

Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good. –Thomas Sowell

Judas stars as ‘anti-hero’ in gospel

“The Gospel of Judas,” an ancient Egyptian manuscript vilified by the early church as heresy, was released yesterday by National Geographic as one of the greatest archaeological finds of the past century.

“We are confident this is a piece of genuine, Christian apocryphal literature,” said Terry Garcia, National Geographic executive vice president. “This is the most significant discovery in the last 60 years,” comparable to the Dead Sea Scrolls, he added.

Purporting to tell the story of one of history’s most vilified men, the gospel is named after Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus to the Jewish authorities for 30 silver coins.

The Judas gospel, in 1,000 fragments before it was recently assembled and translated, includes conversations between Jesus and his disciples about angelic hierarchies, cosmology, the underworld and Creation. Judas is given star billing in this account as Jesus’ chief confidant among the disciples, contrary to the portrayals in the four canonical Gospels. –excerpted from an article by Julia Duin in The Washington Times 04.07.06

In Religion Studies, Universities Bend To Views of Faithful – Scholar of Mormon History, Expelled From Church, Hits a Wall in Job Search Trying to Avoid ‘Minefields’

Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. — In 1993, the Mormon church excommunicated D. Michael Quinn, one of the world’s foremost authorities on the faith, whose writings had frequently contradicted the church’s traditional history.

Now, he has become a pariah in some higher-education circles as well.

Although Mormon studies is a fast-growing academic discipline, Mr. Quinn — a former professor at Mormon-run Brigham Young University and the author of six books on Mormon history — can’t find a job. In 2004, he was the leading candidate for openings at two state universities. Both rejected him.

At least three other secular schools plan new professorships in Mormon studies, but he appears to be a long shot for these posts, too — not because he lacks qualifications, but because almost all the funding for the jobs is coming from Mormon donors.

“At this point, I’m unhireable,” says the 62-year-old scholar, who lives with his mother to save money in this town east of Los Angeles.

Mr. Quinn’s struggles reflect the rising influence of religious groups over the teaching of their faiths at secular colleges, despite concerns about academic freedom. U.S. universities have usually hired religious-studies professors regardless of whether they practiced or admired the faiths they researched. But some universities are bending to the views of private donors and state legislators by hiring the faithful. –excerpted from an article by Daniel Golden in The Wall Street Journal, 04.06.06

With Yoga, Comedy and Parties, Synagogues Entice Newcomers

A hipster synagogue grows in SoHo, drawing large crowds with its “Torah cocktail parties” in fancy loft apartments and user-friendly prayer services designed especially for the uninitiated.

A group of New York-area congregations, along with others across the country, refashion their synagogues into religious multiplexes on the Sabbath, featuring programs like “Shabbat yoga” and comedy alongside traditional worship.

Several synagogues on Long Island — as well as in Seattle, Tucson and elsewhere — station volunteers in supermarket aisles as part of a national program that started several years ago to reach out to Jews who are buying matzos for Passover but do not belong to a house of worship.

These are just some of the ways that Jewish religious leaders, driven by fears about shrinking numbers, are becoming increasingly sophisticated and aggressive about marketing Judaism, turning to the same kinds of outreach techniques that evangelical Christians rode to mega-church success.

In some cases, Jewish groups are explicitly borrowing from the evangelical playbook to reach those who do not attend synagogue; in others, the parallels have been largely coincidental. Although the efforts to market Judaism have drawn criticism from some corners, Jewish leaders across the theological spectrum are realizing what evangelicals have long concluded, that the faithful are easily distracted in America’s spiritual marketplace and religious institutions have to adjust if they hope to survive. –excerpted from an article by Michael Luo in The New York Times 04.04.06

Two New Discoveries Answer Big Questions In Evolution Theory

Even as the evolution wars rage, on school boards and in courtrooms, biologists continue to accumulate empirical data supporting Darwinian theory. Two extraordinary discoveries announced this week should go a long way to providing even more of the evidence that critics of evolution say is lacking.

One study produced what biblical literalists have been demanding ever since Darwin — the iconic “missing links.” If species evolve, they ask, with one segueing into another, where are the transition fossils, those man-ape or reptile-mammal creatures that evolution posits?

In yesterday’s issue of Nature, paleontologists unveiled an answer: well-preserved fossils of a previously unknown fish that was on its way to evolving into a four-limbed land-dweller. It had a jaw, fins and scales like a fish, but a skull, neck, ribs and pectoral fin like the earliest limbed animals, called tetrapods. –excerpted from an article in The Wall Street Journal by Sharon Begley, 04.07.06

Ford Praised For Supporting Homosexual Marriage

Pride at Work, AFL-CIO’s homosexual organization, has praised Ford Motor Company for the company’s support of homosexual marriage. In a March 13 press release, Pride at Work praised Ford for supporting “marriage equality,” a term for homosexual marriage used by homosexuals.

The press release praising Ford’s support for homosexual marriage followed Ford’s sponsorship of CBS’s Without a Trace on March 9. In that program Ford publicly proved to the homosexual activists their support for the homosexual agenda by sponsoring a passionate kiss between two lesbians. –excerpted from an e-mail sent by the American Family Association, 04.03.06

Advice from the real book of Judas – Jude, verse 5 through 8

But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own habitation, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.

Amen Corner

If you had a glass or two of red wine last night or managed to fit in a 30-minute workout, chances are you were responding, at least in part, to medical advice based on scientific research about how to maintain a healthy heart.

Now along comes a new study on cardiac health that even its authors caution against making too much of. The research, published on Tuesday in the American Heart Journal, found that heart-surgery patients showed no benefit when strangers prayed for their recovery. Patients who knew they were being prayed for had a slightly higher rate of complications — perhaps because they were alarmed that they were ill enough to be in anyone’s prayers.

We don’t presume to know what this study proves, other than perhaps that science is not an especially effective means by which to study God.

Other research — not to mention the everyday experience of just about every medical professional — has shown that prayer can be beneficial for the sick. In any event, no scientific study is likely to stop people from praying for those who are ill, or stop the sick from offering up prayers for their own good health. To which we say, Amen. –an editorial in The Wall Street Journal, 04.06.06

Article contributed by Richard Vandagriff and Mark Zaveson