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Monday, September 25, 2006

County-Wide Prayer Meetings for Connecticut coming up on October 29th














From the When Connecticut Prays website comes this announcement concerning local prayer meetings leading up to the Global Day of Prayer in 2007:

"When Connecticut Prays is calling for county-wide and city-wide prayer gatherings on Sunday night, October 29th. We are urging congregations to gather together on that strategic date for worship and in fervent intercession for their towns, regions and for the entire state.

"What makes this date strategic? First of all, it comes two days prior to Halloween, when occultists will gather in darkness across the state to invoke dark powers and release evil against the church and into our society. Our prayers and worship can confuse these circles of dark intent and frustrate their dark prayers.

"Secondly, this fifth Sunday of October comes just 9 days prior to the November elections. We are urging all believers to call upon God for righteous governance at the town, state and national levels. This is a critical election with great moral issues at stake. The balance of opinion on legalized abortion is shifting in our courts and here in Connecticut we are expecting another push by radical activists for same-sex marriage to become the law of our state. We need to pray.

"Thirdly, it is always a strategic time for God's people to call out for revival. We are hearing many reports of God being on the move in Connecticut--now is the time to cry, "More Lord!"

"As last year, we have no centralized plan or program to push. We are simply raising the call to revival prayer and unity in worship.

"Blessings, Rick McKinniss--Wellspring Church"


For a list of participating churches and locations, please visit When Connecticut Prays. You can also find this information and other Christian events in Connecticut on our Christian Events Calendar here.


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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Yale Law Student Sees Red

A very interesting piece in the Yale Daily News about a law student who produced a documentary about a strange and exotic creature - the evangelical Christian. Leah Belsky was raised in Connecticut in a secular Jewish family and set out to explore why Democrats had lost the 2004 election:

"I was one of many Democrats who was really frustrated and puzzled about why we lost, and we heard everyone talking about this idea of moral values," Belksy said.

This confusion led Belsky, [her co-producer Gerry] Corneau and two other like-minded friends to film their journey through some of the most religious, secular, conservative and liberal areas in the country in order to develop an accurate portrayal of the moral divide that they felt mainstream media was neglecting.

Along the way Belsky and Corneau encountered everything from Baptist megachurch pastors in Texas to "raging granny" peace activists in Vermont. They apparently learned in the process that not all born-again Christians have fangs - and Corneau actually became one.

Read it here.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Washington's Farewell

Today is the anniversary of George Washington's farewell address in 1796. Back in the day, many schoolchildren studied this speech as one of the landmarks of early American history; today, there are but few educated adults who are even aware of its contents. The only people who ever seem to discuss it outside of academia are conservative Christians, and for good reason. Within this speech Washington chides those who would divorce our nation from its religious underpinnings.

The US was not founded as a sectarian nation. (Thus, there is no Church of the United States.) However, a cultural consensus existed that this was a Christian nation. Not in the theocratic sense, as today's leftists pretend to fear - as though American Christians today were the equivalent of the Taliban or the Iranians. But clearly our public life was founded on religious principles and no amount of historical varnish - or outright lies - can obscure that fact. From Washington's lips:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.

In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity.

Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice?

And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government.

Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?


Washington's words are a rebuke to the modern trend - and the modern interest groups - who have been vigorously working for 50 years or more to destroy every vestige of Christian influence (or even morality itself) in our nation. According to Washington, no man could claim the label of patriot if he worked to overthrow religion or morality. But today, 210 years later, those who attack religion in public life are frequently lauded as the best kinds of patriots and guardians of the liberties of their fellow citizens. Nothing could be further from the truth, either in 1796 or today.

Pray for a return to a true understanding of the role of religion in the American system, and pray against deceit in this area.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Tommie Zito returns to Westport

Evangelist Tommie Zito returns to St. Paul Lutheran Church in Westport in a series of meetings that will run from September 18th through September 23. There will be morning training meetings at 10am daily and worship meetings at 7pm each evening.

Call the church for additional info at (203) 227-7441.

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Is Western Civilization doomed?

This story is a little too outside the usual focus of this blog, but amazing things are happening everywhere you look. Many people have become alarmed by the recent controversy over the Pope's remarks, and, as a consequence, we're actually seeing articles questioning whether Western Civilization can actually survive.

The conservative blog Jihad Watch has posted a list of ten reasons why the West cannot defeat jihad.

And for those on the other side of the aisle, liberal writer Sam Harris follows suit, saying that head-in-the-sand liberals are going to get us all killed:


At its most extreme, liberal denial has found expression in a growing subculture of conspiracy theorists who believe that the atrocities of 9/11 were orchestrated by our own government. A nationwide poll conducted by the Scripps Survey Research Center at Ohio University found that more than a third of Americans suspect that the federal government "assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them so the United States could go to war in the Middle East;" 16% believe that the twin towers collapsed not because fully-fueled passenger jets smashed into them but because agents of the Bush administration had secretly rigged them to explode.

Such an astonishing eruption of masochistic unreason could well mark the decline of liberalism, if not the decline of Western civilization. There are books, films and conferences organized around this phantasmagoria, and they offer an unusually clear view of the debilitating dogma that lurks at the heart of liberalism: Western power is utterly malevolent, while the powerless people of the Earth can be counted on to embrace reason and tolerance, if only given sufficient economic opportunities.

I don't know how many more engineers and architects need to blow themselves up, fly planes into buildings or saw the heads off of journalists before this fantasy will dissipate. The truth is that there is every reason to believe that a terrifying number of the world's Muslims now view all political and moral questions in terms of their affiliation with Islam. This leads them to rally to the cause of other Muslims no matter how sociopathic their behavior. This benighted religious solidarity may be the greatest problem facing civilization and yet it is regularly misconstrued, ignored or obfuscated by liberals.

Read these articles, and pray accordingly.

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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Moving On

Let's start an argument before we go to church in the morning.

Does anyone really care anymore when churches appoint ministers who are not heterosexual?

If it were a Southern Baptist church or an independent charismatic church they would. But when I read about a very famous UCC church in New Haven taking this step, I laugh and say, "So what? Who cares?"

Mark Tooley addresses the decline of this historic denomination:

The spiritual descendant of New England's old Puritans, the UCC can claim an historical and social pedigree equal to the Episcopal Church. Both denominations are well-heeled, well educated and disproportionately comprised of social and political elites. Both are also liberal-controlled and suffering steep membership decline.

Despite all of its welcoming and affirming, the UCC has lost one million members over the last 40 years, or over 40 percent of its original membership. Like the Episcopal Church, the UCC remains overwhelmingly a denomination of the white, upper-middle class. Minorities and working-class whites have not been ejected by the UCC but are not attracted to its brand of New England-style liberal Protestantism.

Last year's decision by the UCC to become the first major U.S. denomination formally to endorse same-sex "marriage" only contributed to the UCC's membership plunge. At least one hundred congregations have voted to leave the UCC just since 2005, as recorded by www.faithfulandwelcoming.org. The ultimate number probably will be several times that.

According to the UCC, dozens of "gay-friendly" congregations are seeking to affiliate with the UCC. But they are not likely to compensate for the annual loss of tens of thousands of members. In 2004 alone, the UCC lost over 30,000.

Of course a part of us laments these developments, but at a fundamental level we also don't care any more. We are moving on and becoming more busy doing what we were supposed to be doing all along.

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More on Christian Liberals and Conservatives

Peter Wolfgang at Family Institute of Connecticut is keeping the conversation going with a serious look at living as witnesses rather than living as conservatives or liberals.

Of course, we'd like to be friends with more liberals but too many of them think we're icky at the moment. Note the applause the shock line from Rosie O'Donnell gets here:




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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Are we in a Great Awakening?

There are lots of hopeful signs, but... not many Christian leaders would say we're in one already. Maybe we're on the cusp.

You might have noticed that the very description of this blog says that we're praying and believing God for the next Great Awakening. Scholars disagree about whether this would be the Third, the Fourth, or maybe even the Fifth... but in any event one prominent American seems to think we're in one already: George W. Bush.

In an article that's sure to have the press freaking out, columnist Rich Lowry has blogged for us some excerpts of a conversation that he and some others had with the President on September 12. It's very revealing stuff:

Bush’s faith in the rightness of his strategy in the broader war is deep-seated — it is, indeed, a product of faith. “Freedom is universal,” Bush says. “And I recognize there’s a debate around the world about the kind of — whether that principle is real. I call it moral relativism, if people do not believe that certain people can be free. I mean, I just cannot subscribe to that. People — I know it upsets people when I ascribe that to my belief in an Almighty, and that I believe a gift from that Almighty is universal freedom. That’s what I believe.”

So it is somehow appropriate that a wide-ranging conversation on the war and the capacities of cultures to change swings around toward the end to the role of faith in our own culture. “Cultures do change,” Bush says. “Ideological struggles are won, but it takes time. It just takes time. You look back at the ‘50s, I don’t know how evident it was that — I guess there was — when you think about it, there was a pretty stark change in the culture of the ‘50s and the ‘60s. I mean, boom. But I think something is happening here.”

“I don’t know,” he continues, “I’m not giving you a definitive statement — it seems like to me there’s a Third Awakening with a cultural change. And it would be interesting to get your observations if that is accurate or not accurate. It feels like it. I’m just giving you a reference point, if this is something you’re interested in looking at. It feels like it to me. I don’t have people coming in the rope line saying, ‘I’d like a new bridge, or how about some more highway money.’ They’re coming to say, ‘I’m coming to tell you, Mr. President, I’m praying for you.’ It’s pretty remarkable.”

And so is the confidence of the man they are praying for — ever calm in the political storm all around him, ever certain that the difficult task he has set for himself and his country is right and will be a success.

For all the slams he takes about his intellect (M.B.A. and jet fighter pilot?) Mr. Bush seems to understand the concept of "Great Awakenings" and the important role they have played in American history. These great movements weren't in the same category as renewals like the Charismatic Renewal of the 60's, which did so much the energize the Church but whose impact on society wasn't nearly as great. Awakenings on the other hand bring about massive societal change as the entire moral sense of the populace is lifted.

Let's pray that the President is right, and that needed cultural change will come from Heaven - God is still a mightier resource than the ballot box or the courtroom!

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Praying About "Islamic Fascism"

There's been lots of controversy as to whether we should combine the terms "islamic" and "fascism." But many Christians are unaware of the historical backdrop and surprising connections between the Nazi movement and Islamic radicalism. The Intercessors for America ministry, one of the oldest prayer ministries, has come out with a chilling article tracing how these two movements found common cause through their anti-Semitism.

This is well worth reading, reflecting and praying about.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Prophetic Conference in Danbury this weekend with Sandie Freed

A Prophetic Conference entitled "Healing the Whole Person" will be held at the Ethan Allan Inn in Danbury this Saturday, September 16.

Speakers include: Sandie Freed, Dave and Linda Roeder, and Gale Sheehan.

For additional details and information on registration, please visit Higher Ground Ministries.

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Monday, September 11, 2006

Yeah, We Know.

From Britain comes a controversial survey indicating that the best environment to raise children arises from a primitive and nearly-forgotten family arrangement referred to in the report as marriage.

We were not sure what to make of this, but apparently this so-called "marriage" thing is good for society.

Unmarried parents are up to five times more likely to experience family breakdown, according to the survey of 15,000 families carried out for the social justice policy review group headed by Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader.

The findings will put intense pressure on David Cameron to offer voters a cast-iron guarantee that he will put marriage at the heart of Tory policies on the family.

Some of the Conservative leader's advisers want him to tone down the party's support for marriage because they fear the party risks alienating support from unmarried families.

But the study said that such a strategy was misguided. A statement from Mr Duncan Smith's policy review said: "By tacitly promoting cohabitation and undermining marriage, policy-makers are exposing more children to the perils of family breakdown, reflected in higher levels of crime, anti-social behaviour, education failure and mental and emotional disturbance."

For some reason, at least in Britain, although the empirical evidence seems to suggest that this "marriage" thing is good, there is apparently a lot of political wrangling about it. I can't imagine why. In any event, the supporters of "marriage" have also found out that it is more important even than money!

Mr Duncan Smith said that the study offered compelling evidence that marriage must be the basis of Government policy to tackle family breakdown.

"This is a serious study and will help the policy group establish the causes of the UK's very high levels of family breakdown," he said. "What is particularly interesting is the way the report shows that the Government's assumption that children's outcomes are solely dictated by socio-economic factors is wrong.

"The structure within which they grow up and are nurtured is vital to their well-being.

"The Government's corresponding attempt to airbrush out references to marriage from family research is a form of censorship."

Read story here.


If we could get some kind of movement going in Connecticut to promote these "marriages" they want to have in Britain I think it would have a good effect on our society, too!

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Pray Connecticut Site Back Online With New Web Address
















Our website is back online. Thanks for your patience!

You can now also reach us by using the domain www.prayct.com. The previous address of www.prayct.org will still work, but I'll begin to disfavor it.

For the most part, it's still true that most people don't care for the .org domains.

We've also cleaned up the directories so you won't see any more annoying addresses like:

www.prayct.org/prayct/connecticut_christian_events_calendar.htm

A typical address will now be a more normal-looking:

www.prayct.org/connecticut_christian_events_calendar.htm.

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Site Maintenance Coming Up

We're going into a little bit of site maintenance at our web site but should be back up by Tuesday morning. I hope this will help us with a number of issues, including some expanded bookstore options. As always, thanks for your support!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Praying for the Youth of New Haven

What's the answer for the youth of New Haven? Pastor Todd Foster of Church On The Rock is combining prayer with action. He supports the controversial proposed curfew but has big plans to attack the roots of violence.

Read this piece on Church On The Rock's efforts and if you are in the New Haven area, see what you can do to reach out and help.

You can also read Pastor Todd's blog for New Haven area clergy, called New Haven 828.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Is Pray Connecticut a conservative blog?

Just kidding, Mr. President. Voted for you twice!

(You can find anything on Flickr.)

By the way, did you know he is the only President ever born in the Land of Steady Habits? In New Haven, no less! The State's center of conservative activism!

I bet that drives them nuts. You never hear them talking about it or giving him the key to the city or stuff like that, right?

Anyway, is this a conservative blog?


That's a fair question and I'm not entirely sure how to answer it other than to say that it depends on whom you ask.

Our friends at Connecticut In The Crosshairs, which is the blog of the Family Institute of Connecticut, mentioned us today in an article called Connecticut's Conservative Blogosphere. I'm truly grateful for the guys at FIC for mentioning us there, but I'm not really sure that we can be put into a political box.

Obviously we have a generally conservative tone but if we really are an important forum for the state's Evangelical Christians (as we were generously described) we need to be conservative where the Gospel calls us to be conservative and liberal where the Gospel calls us to be. That's too subjective for many - even naive - but at its heart this isn't really a political blog. (I'm using tags today that I've never used before!)

If you've read us for any length of time then you know that I stand with the FIC on pro-life and related issues, obviously. I pray for the success of their efforts to repair the breaches in our state's families. Their work against the destruction of marriage has been outstanding.

However, linking to Margot Adler as I did yesterday could get me kicked off some mailing lists. (*chuckle*)

In any event, it's an honor to be named alongside fine conservative bloggers. May their readership increase.

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

How far is it from New Canaan to Bridgeport?











It's only 11 exits on the Merritt, give or take, but a lot farther in real life.

NPR gives us a little bit of contrast between those two places today in a feature with audio.

"Perhaps if the skin color were a little different, and more reflective of Fairfield County, some of the issues would be addressed I believe much differently," says Anthony Bennett, senior pastor at Mount Aery Baptist Church.

Bennett is an outspoken advocate for the city's working poor. Given the challenges facing Bridgeport, Bennett sees activism as more important than prayer right now.


"Perhaps the perception is that we are talking about praising the Lord and going to heaven," he says. "No! God will take care of the sweet by-and-by -- we want to help in the nasty now-and-now."


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Friday, September 01, 2006

The State Income Tax is killing us













You may recall that I took a brief excursion into politics recently to rant about taxes and the State budget. (Read: "Why Can't People in Connecticut Get Ahead?")

The news this past week seemed to support my rant, as the Yankee Institute released an incredibly sour and, frankly, depressing report about Connecticut's economy and what a train wreck the income tax has truly been.

Here's the executive summary of the report, which you can read here:

Supporters hailed the income tax as a powerful mechanism to fix the state’s fiscal condition and -- because it allowed minor cuts in other taxes -- jumpstart the Connecticut economy. But a decade and a half after its passage, it is now clear that the income tax has failed. The income tax has not been an effective fiscal tool:

* when the state entered another recession at the turn of the century, budget deficits returned, as did tax hikes, heavy borrowing, and the complete withdrawal of Connecticut’s “rainy day fund”

* Connecticut’s state tax burden continued to rise significantly after 1991, and tax hikes as well as entirely new levies were adopted

* revenue from the income tax did not lead to property-tax relief -- between 1991 and 2003, Connecticut property-tax collections rose 19.8 percent

* the “spending cap” enacted to control state expenditures was riddled with loopholes, and has been violated again and again by governors and lawmakers

* contrary to the claims of many income-tax supporters, not one of the nation’s non-income tax states followed Connecticut’s lead Neither has the income tax spurred economic growth:

* Connecticut job growth has been nonexistent since 1991 -- the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation reports that since the early 1990s, “no other state … has had such stagnation in employment”

* personal-income growth slowed significantly in the Nutmeg State in the post-1991 era

* median household income in Connecticut has fallen, in inflation-adjusted terms, since 1991 -- nationally, median household income has grown

* Connecticut lost over 240,000 native-born citizens between 1990 and 2002, and in the 1990s, no state lost a greater percentage of its 18-to-34-year-olds


It’s time to admit that Connecticut’s income tax was a major policy blunder. The state should consider shifting to a sales tax on all retail transactions (with a generous rebate program for low-income households). Doing so would likely produce a more reliable revenue stream, as well as eliminate the income tax’s strong disincentives to work and invest.


You may not agree with the Yankee Institute's proposed remedy, but I still find it astonishing that Connecticut residents give so little attention to this problem.

What does it say about our State that during the decade of the 90's, no State lost a greater percentage of its 18-to-34-year olds?

Grassroots pressure kept Connecticut from passing an income tax for so many years - it may be time for a new campaign to roll it back.

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