Methodist Bishops Table Policy Change on Homosexuality United Methodist bishops have tabled a proposal that would have loosened restrictions in the church's mostly conservative policies on homosexuality. --by Kevin Eckstrom of Religion News Service at the PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly website 5.10.07
Pastors lead flocks through the wardrobe
Churches and Disney see Narnia as a land of opportunity
The night before the movie opens to the public, members of Bellaire United Methodist Church will have a private screening Thursday of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. And when they arrive at church for Sunday’s contemporary service, they will walk through a wardrobe, brush past coats and emerge into Narnia Ã¢â‚¬” or a re-created version of C. S. Lewis snowy fantasy world in their Family Life Center.
“We are looking at it as a time to discover the wonder of our faith,” the Rev. Valerie Hudson said. “And we are also using the movie to promote a Christian message, though I understand Lewis wrote it as a story and fairy tale for children and parents to share.” Hudson and her church are part of the Christian audience that Disney is actively wooing for its $180 million adaptation of the Narnia book, which opens nationwide Friday.
Other Houston churches also are planning events around Narnia. First Presbyterian Church members are among those who will see special screenings. The Rev. Robert Creech of University Baptist Church in Clear Lake City is basing his December sermons on Narnia themes. Some ministers are simply recommending the movie to their congregations.
Though Hollywood had done it before, Mel Gibsons The Passion of the Christ provided the blueprint for direct marketing to churches and demonstrated the financial potential of attracting the faith-based community. That film brought in $611 million worldwide. –excerpted from an article by Barbara Karkabi and Louis B. Parks from The Houston Chronicle 12.05.05 submitted by webmaster Joe Botha. For the entire article click here
Indiana State House Prayer Ban Called “Intolerable
Lawmakers and historians reacted negatively over the weekend to a federal judge’s ruling that the Indiana Legislature could no longer mention the name of Jesus during prayer.
Republican Brian Bosma, speaker of the Indiana House, called it an “intolerable decision.” “The concern here is for the first time, at least here in Indiana, federal court is stepping forward and censoring prayer in the House of Representatives,” he said. “For the first time in my knowledge, the specific name “Jesus Christ or references to the title of Christ are to be censored from all prayers offered here in the House chambers.”
Of the 53 prayers offered in the 2005 session, 41 were given by clergy from Christian churches.
The Indiana Civil Liberties Union brought the suit. It argued that the prayers had sent “a powerful message of exclusion.” –from staff reports at www.family.org 12.06.05 submitted by Mark Zaveson
Duty and truth
Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less. –Robert E. Lee from the posting listed below
One place there is not total cooperation is in reality. More than a language barrier separates the Western and Islamic definitions of terrorism, and no amount of happy talk about “inclusion or conferences about “cooperation changes that. –Diana West from a posting at www.federalist.com
Churches to close on Christmas Day
Some the regions largest evangelical churches have canceled Sunday services on Christmas Day. Church leaders said yesterday that the main reason for closing is that activities such as gift exchanges and family travel will keep parishioners away and that volunteers need a break — especially after the big Saturday services.
“After much discussion … we felt that it was a way just to encourage folks who are celebrating with their families not to feel torn between [Christmas Day activities] and coming on Sunday,” said Joshua Harris, head pastor of the Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg. The church, which has about 3,200 members, instead will have Friday night and Christmas Eve services, he said. “This wasn’t an easy decision because we really value our Sunday services [but] we didnt feel like we were sacrificing worship,” Mr. Harris said. He further defended the decision by saying the church rarely cancels services because of bad weather. “We stand our ground for that,” he said.
Two other mega-churches in the area — National Community Church in the District and Frontline, a part of McLean Bible Church in McLean — also have canceled Christmas Day services but will hold Christmas Eve services. –by Amy Doolittle, from her article in The Washington Times 12.09.05 (It ought to be clear who it is that these churches truly “serve” as nothing at all is said about honoring the supposed birthday of Christ in churches, anywhere in the bible – and that is whether we know when that birth occurred or not. Instead we are told to honor his death on every Lords Day until he comes, and I dont think we are left with any right to decide when to leave that off so that we can sleep in, open presents, and see what Santa left us. RAV)
Those booted and spurred
The fact that people sort themselves out in many ways is not usually a big problem – except to those people who cannot feel fulfilled unless they are telling other people what to do. –Thomas Sowell excerpted from a quote at www.federalist.com
Mom Knows Best
Michael invited his mother over for dinner. During the meal, his mother couldn’t help noticing how beautiful Michael’s roommate was. She had long been suspicious of a relationship between Michael and his roommate and this only made her more curious.
Over the course of the evening, while watching the two interact, she started to wonder if there was more between Michael and the roommate than met the eye. Reading his mom’s thoughts, Michael volunteered, “I know what you must be thinking, but I assure you, Joanne and I are just roommates.”
About a week later, Joanne came to Michael and said, “Ever since your mother came to dinner, Ive been unable to find the beautiful silver gravy ladle. “You dont suppose she took it, do you?” Michael said, “Well, I doubt it, but Ill write her a letter just to be sure.”
So he sat down and wrote, “Dear Mother, Im not saying you “did take a gravy ladle from my house, and Im not saying you “did not take a gravy ladle. But the fact remains that one has been missing ever since you were here for dinner.”
Several days later, John received a letter from his mother, which read, “Dear Son, Im not saying that you “do sleep with Joanne, and Im not saying that you “do not sleep with Joanne. But the fact remains that if she was sleeping in her own bed, she would have found the gravy ladle by now. Love, Mom” –from an unknown source – in an e-mail submitted by Mark Zaveson
From the “Were Created Different Department:”
Boys Will Be Boys
Until last winter, I had assumed that fundamentalist feminism had peaked in the early 1990s with the Anita Hill brouhaha, and that Bill Clinton’s political survival in 1998, which hinged on his near-unanimous support from hypocritical feminists, ended the era in which anyone took feminism seriously.
The Larry Summers fiasco, however, showed that while feminism may have entered its Brezhnev Era intellectually, it still commands the institutional equivalent of Brezhnev’s thousands of tanks and nuclear missiles. After just a few days, Harvard President Lawrence Summers caved in to critics of his off-hand comment that nature, not invidious discriminations alone, might be to blame for the lower percentage of women who study math and science. In short order, he propitiated the feminists by promising, in effect, to spend $50 million taking teaching and research opportunities at Harvard away from male jobseekers and giving them to less talented women.
Perhaps in a saner society, then, we would have less need for Leonard Saxs engaging combination of popular science exposition and advice guidebook, Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences. But parents as well as professors could benefit from it now.
Sax speaks of “gender” when he means “sex”Ã¢â‚¬”male or female. I fear, though, that this usage battle is lost because the English language really does need two different words to distinguish between the fact, and the act, of sex. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg claims her secretary Millicent invented the use of “gender” to mean “sex” in the early 1970s while typing the crusading feminists briefs against sex discrimination. Millicent pointed out to her boss that judges, like all men, have dirty minds when it comes to the word “sex,” so she should use the boring term “gender” to keep those animals thinking only about the law.
Unfortunately, “gender” now comes with a vast superstructure of 99% fact-free feminist theorizing about how sex differences are all just socially constructed. According to this orthodoxy, its insensitive to doubt a burly transvestite truck driver demanding a government-subsidized sex change when he says he feels like a little girl inside. Yet its also insensitive to assume that the average little girl feels like a little girl inside.
Fortunately, Sax, a family physician and child psychologist, subscribes to none of the usual cant. Indeed, I thought I was a connoisseur of sex differences until I read Why Gender Matters, where I learned in the first chapter, for instance, that girls on average hear better than boys, especially higher-pitched sounds, such as the typical schoolteacher’s voice, which is one little-known reason girls on average pay more attention in class.
Males and females also tend to have different kinds of eyeballs, with boys better at tracking movement and girls better at distinguishing subtle shades of colors. Presumably, these separate skills evolved when men were hunters trying to spear fleeing game and women were gatherers searching out the ripest fruit. So, today, boys want to catch fly balls and girls want to discuss whether to buy the azure or periwinkle skirt. Cognitive differences are profound and pervasive. Dont force boys to explain their feelings in great detail, Sax advises. Their brains arent wired to make that as enjoyable a pastime as it is for girls. –excerpted from an article Boys Will Be Boys, authored by Steve Sailer, which is “A review of Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences, by Leonard Sax” posted at the Claremont Institute site www.claremont.org 11.28.05
Article contributed by Richard Vandagriff, Mark Zaveson and Joe Botha