Archive for July, 2011

Join us for family movie night on Friday, August 5th. The film will be the classic mystery The Maltese Falcon. a 1941 Warner Bros. film based on the novel of the same name by Dashiell Hammett and a remake of the 1931 film of the same name.Written and directed by John Huston, the film stars Humphrey Bogart as private investigator Sam SpadeMary Astor as his femme fatale client; Gladys George, who received third billing despite having a relatively minor role; Peter Lorre; and Sydney Greenstreet in his film debut. The film was Huston’s directorial debut and was nominated for three Academy Awards.  The story concerns a San Francisco private detective’s dealings with three unscrupulous adventurers who compete to obtain a fabulous jewel-encrusted statuette of a falcon. The Maltese Falcon has been named as one of the greatest films of all time by Roger Ebert,[5] and Entertainment Weekly,and was cited by Panorama du Film Noir Américain, the first major work on film noir, as the first film of that genre.

Dinner at 6 (contributions for pizza and sodas will be most welcome) and the movie starts at 6:30 pm.

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The Teaching of the Church on the Holy Eucharist as Gathered from Her Official Documents by the Reverend Dr. Pusey, Canon of the Cathedral Church of Christ in Oxford, and Regius Professor of Hebrew in the University of Oxford.

“There now remains only to sum up the teaching of the Church of England on the Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist. She teaches, then that ‘sacraments ordained by Christ Himself’ are means ‘God doth work invisibly in us’ ‘means whereby we receive the inward part or thing signified’ by ‘the outward and visible sign’; and that they are ‘pledges to assure us thereof’; (these passages are quoted from the Twenty-fifth Article and from the Catechism). She teaches that ‘the inward part or thing signified’ in the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is ‘the Body and Blood of Christ, which are verily and indeed taken and received in the Lord’s Supper’; (this is quoted from the Catechism). She teaches that ‘Almighty God our Heavenly Father hath given His Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to be our spiritual food and sustenance in that holy Sacrament’; and that this is ‘a divine thing to those who receive it worthily’; (these passages are from the first warning Exhortation for the Celebration of the Holy Communion). She teaches that then ‘we spiritually eat the Flesh of Christ and drink His Blood; then we dwell in Christ and Christ with us, we are one with Christ and Christ with us’; (this is from the longer Exhortation at the time of the Celebration of the Communion). She teaches that we ‘come’ there ‘to the Body and Blood of Christ.’ (This is quoted from S. Basil in the second part of the Homily concerning the Sacrament). She teaches that we ‘receive His blessed [37/38] Body and Blood under the Form of bread and wine’; (this is from the Notice at the end of the First Book of Homilies). She teaches that ‘at His table we,’ if we would be faithful, ‘receive not only the outward Sacrament but the spiritual thing also; not the figure only but the truth; not the shadow only but the Body’; ‘spiritual Food, nourishment of our souls, a heavenly refection, an invisible meat, a ghostly substance’; that ‘Christ’ is our ‘refection and meat’; that that Body and Blood are present there; for ‘in the Supper of the Lord, there is no vain ceremony, no bare sign, no untrue figure of a thing absent’; (these passages are from the First Part of the Homily concerning the Sacrament). She teaches that ‘the Bread’ which is ‘blessed’ or ‘consecrated’ with our Lord’s words, ‘This is My Body’ is ‘the Communion or partaking of the Body of Christ’; that the Cup or wine which ‘is blessed’ or ‘consecrated’ with His word, ‘This is My Blood of the New Testament,’ ‘is to such as rightly worthily and with faith receive the same,’ ‘the Communion or partaking of the Blood of Christ’; (these passages are from the rubric immediately following the words of administration, and from the Twenty-eighth Article). She teaches that if we receive rightly ‘we so eat the Flesh of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and drink His Blood, and our sinful bodies are made clean by His Body, and our souls washed through His most Precious Blood’; (this is from the Prayer of Humble Access in the Eucharistic Liturgy.) She teaches that, if we rightly receive, we are made ‘partakers of His most Precious Body and Blood’; and so, ‘partakers of Christ’; (these passages are from the Prayer of Consecration and the Twenty-ninth Article). She teaches that ‘God Himself vouchsafes to feed those who duly receive these [38/39] holy Precious Mysteries with the spiritual Food of the most Precious Body and Blood of His Son our Saviour Jesus Christ’; (this is from the second Thanksgiving after Communion). She teaches that ‘The Body and Blood of Christ which were given and shed for us,’ when received by us, do, if we persevere, ‘preserve our souls and bodies unto everlasting life’; (this is from the words of administration). She teaches that they are ‘a salve of immortality, and sovereign preservative against death’; ‘a deifical Communion’–‘the pledge of eternal Health, the defence of faith, the hope of the Resurrection’; ‘the Food of immortality, the healthful grace, the conservatory to life everlasting’; (these passages are from the first Part of the Homily concerning the Sacrament).”

(E. B. Pusey, The Real Presence of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ The Doctrine of the English Church, edit. 1869, pp. 234-237.)

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The California State Assembly recently passed and Gov. Brown signed, SB 48, mandating homosexual-friendly instruction in all California public schools, K-12. The mandates the inclusion of the historical contributions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans in the state’s textbooks.  Starting as early as the 2013-2014 school year, the FAIR Education Act, sponsored by state Senator Mark Leno, a Democrat, requires the California Board of Education and local school districts to include the curriculum in their lesson plans.

The Associated Press on Friday reported that the Sacramento-based group Capitol Resources Institute has started the process for a statewide vote to overturn the law.

In the meantime, Catholic University of America recently announced that they would abolish co-ed dorms and move to all single sex dorms.  Apparently, the co-ed dorms were ont fostering an atmosphere that was in harmony with the moral standards adhhrered to by the Church.  In the wake of that decision, a DC attorney announced that he will sue them for sex segregation which he claims violates the DC Human Rights Law.

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Many of you may be familiar with the recent news of Texas Governor Rick Perry and his call to all state governors as well as President Obama to join him in declaring August 6, 2011 as a Day of Prayer and Fasting. His urge is for our Nation to seek God’s guidance and wisdom in addressing the issues facing our communities, states and nation. A statement on the Governor’s website reads:

“Given the trials that beset our nation and world, from the global economic downturn to natural disasters, the lingering danger of terrorism and continued debasement of our culture, I believe it is time to convene the leaders from each of our United States in a day of prayer and fasting, like that described in the book of Joel,” Gov. Perry said. “I urge all Americans of faith to pray on that day for the healing of our country, the rebuilding of our communities and the restoration of enduring values as our guiding force.”

Not to let any good deed go unpunished, the Freedom from Religion Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the governor’s proclamation violates the Establishment clause of the US Constitution by showing preference to evangelical Christian religious beliefs; yet another effort to diminish the foundation and culture of which this nation was founded on. Our founding forefathers have opposing reference for the institution of government and religion, and moreover, prayer. George Washington, John Adams, James Madison, Thomas McKean and others all made clear that religion was foundational to their leadership and life. It is important now that we as a unified body stand behind this charge to sanctify this August, 6 as one that God will have favor on.

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40 Days for Life

40 Days for Life is a focused pro-life campaign with a vision to access God’s power through prayer, fasting, and peaceful vigil to end abortion in America.

The mission of the campaign is to bring together the body of Christ in a spirit of unity during a focused 40 day campaign of prayer, fasting, and peaceful activism, with the purpose of repentance, to seek God’s favor to turn hearts and minds from a culture of death to a culture of life, thus bringing an end to abortion in America.

The next local 40 Days for Life campaign from September 28 to November 6, 2011. You can read about it as well as learn more about this highly successful work of Christ here: http://www.40daysforlife.com/

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When God chisels the dead weight out of our lives it can be very painful. In one of their most requested skits, Tommy and Eddie of skitguys.com give a very creative look at a typical believer having to go through the process of discipline.

Copy the following link to YouTube to watch this outstanding Christian video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhfUzodLRvk


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Here is a thought for the day from Bishop Charles C. Grafton, an icon of Anglo-Catholicism.

“The great contest between unbelief and faith is going steadily on in our own land. Our great foes are unbelief, worldliness, indifference, luxury, pleasure-seeking, and money getting, on the one hand, and new religions, superstition, imperfect presentations of Christianity, on the other. The work of the Church is not to convert the world, but to gather out of the world those fitted for the coming Kingdom of Righteousness. All Churchmen must earnestly strive, by prayer and the Sacraments, to make their own calling and election sure, and, by personal efforts and self-sacrifice to build up the Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

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Words Have Consequences

During last May’s “rapture” alert here in Richmond and around the world, the clergy here at Saint Alban’s addressed the dangers of so-called end-times prophecies. Indeed, such prognostication about Our Lord’s return is specifically proscribed in the Gospels by Christ himself.  However, words have consequences.

Bob Unruh of World Net Daily reports that Harold “Second Coming” Camping got more than he bargained for with his prediction that Jesus Christ would return to Earth to “rapture” his followers to heaven on May 21.  You will recall that Camping, 89, of Oakland, Calif.-based Family Radio, prognosticated that mankind had run out of time, and the Creator of the universe would arrive on that Saturday. Now, the executive director of a ministry that works with the persecuted church in the northern reaches of Vietnam says that the “prophecy” preacher apparently cost the lives of many tribal Hmong people who believed it.

The horrific aftermath of the unfulfilled prophecy was reported by James Jacob Prasch, a key leader of Moriel Ministries. Prasch routinely travels and meets with members of the Christian body worldwide. A recent trip took him to Vietnam, where a large number of the Hmong Central Highland  tribal peoples known as Montagnards are Christian. These folks apparently had heard of Camping’s prophecy and not having sophisticated methods for evaluating its validity, took it literally, he explained.

The result, for many, was death, Prasch reported in an email to supporters.  After listening to a translation of Camping’s prediction some 7,000 Montagnards gathered on a mountain praising God their suffering at the hands of the communist regime was about to end because Jesus was returning that day in May to establish a new kingdom.  The police and military police slaughtered many of them at gunpoint – beheading two pastors. Others were arrested, and so many were shot dead that they were buried in mass graves bulldozed over.

Prasch reported that he spoke to a secret meeting of Hmong pastors to explain to them “false prophets and false teachers.” “Due to a combination of poverty, ignorance and persecution these poor Christians don’t understand much so they believed Camping’s shortwave broadcast which is how most get their teaching,” he said.  “These people already suffering for their faith in Jesus had it bad enough. They are not like the undiscerning whackos in the West who should have known Camping was a crackpot and a proven false prophet and false teacher,” Prasch reported. “This is a persecuted church who just had no means to know any different. This is why … I warn so much about false teachers and false prophets.”

World Net Daily’s attempt request of Family Radio for comment predictably did not generate a response.

In a related incident, when Camping’s predicted rapture did not occur, International Business Times reported that Ms. Lyn Benedetto of Antelope Valley, Calif., slit the wrist and throat of her two daughters and then slit her own to prevent them from going through the “Tribulation” on May 21.  Thanks be to God that a  neighbor summoned an ambulance in time for them to be hospitalized.

Upon hearing the story, Camping was quoted as saying, “Murdering is terrible. It is contrary to everything the Bible teaches. That would have been a horrible thing if she has done that. That will make me weep. That will fill me with sorrow that she would do that. The Bible teaches that we are to save life, not kill. If it is going to be death, leave it to God. God knows who He wants to kill and make alive. That is His business, not our business.”

Asked if he would take responsibility for such incidents, Camping, of course, said no.  “I don’t have any responsibility. I can’t be responsible for anybody’s lives,” he explained. “I am only teaching the Bible. I am not teaching what I believe, as if I am the authority. I am just simply teaching what the Bible says. And I don’t have spiritual rule over anybody.”

You bet, Harold.  A world-wide radio ministry, billboards up and down I-95 among other locales, and a whole passel of media appearances and you aren’t holding yourself out as an authority.  Owning up to responsibility for one’s actions is a Christian imperative.

Of course, Camping’s prediction that Jesus would return May 21 was not the first time he made a false prophecy. He previously forecast Christ’s return in 1994.  In the aftermath of his little “error”, Camping has adjusted his prediction for the end of the world to Oct. 21 of this year.

Just a couple of thoughts from the 25th Chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew.  ”And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (v. 36)

This episode illustrates a number of points, but, two chiefly come to mind.  First, there is a danger in Bible prophecy.  If you hear such teachings, you are well served to ignore them as our Lord directs.  You may even wish to direct so-called prophets to that 25th chapter of St. Matthew, although such folks are not typically swayed by actual Scripture, preferring, instead, their own “interpretations”.  As well, this incredibly sad episode tells us that words have consequences and, especially those of us involved in Christian teaching, Bible study or apologetic need to “set a coal upon our lips” before speaking.  Those yearning for the true faith are listening, and woe unto us if we lead others astray.

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Those who variously enjoy mysteries, Arthurian legend, the works of the Inklings, and historical pieces will want to include Looking for the King. It is 1940, and the Second World War has just begun.  American Tom McCord, a 23-year-old aspiring doctoral candidate, is in England researching the historical evidence for the legendary King Arthur. There he meets Laura Hartman, a fellow American staying with her aunt in Oxford, and the two of them team up for an even more ambitious and dangerous quest.

Aided by the Inklings-that illustrious circle of scholars and writers made famous by its two most prolific members, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as the lesser-read Charles Williams-Tom and Laura begin to suspect that the fabled Spear of Destiny, the lance that pierced the side of Christ on the cross, is hidden somewhere in England.

Tom discovers that Laura has been having mysterious dreams, which seem to be related to the subject of his research, and, though doubtful of her visions, he hires her as an assistant. Heeding the insights and advice of the Inklings, while becoming aware of being shadowed by powerful and secretive foes who would claim the spear as their own, Tom and Laura end up on a thrilling treasure hunt that crisscrosses the English countryside and leads beyond a search for the elusive relics of Camelot into the depths of the human heart and soul. Weaving his fast-paced narrative with conversation based on the works of the Inklings, author David Downing offers a vivid portrait of Oxford and draws a welcome glimpse into the personalities and ideas of Lewis and Tolkien, while never losing sight of his action-packed adventure story and its two very appealing main characters.

You will feel that you actually have met Lewis, Tolkien and Williams and shared a story with them.  There are themes of chivalry and faith inter-woven into the tale, and the level of dialogue and narrative are well-above that of the mass market pot boiler.  You also won’t have to worry about offensive language, vivid sexual imagery or anyone wielding a chainsaw.  It is a good bet for the beach, poolside or an armchair in air-conditioned comfort.   A word of warning, though.  Once you start this book you won’t want to put it down until the finale!

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