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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Perils of Christian Blogging


I thought this was a Christian website - so why is he running that ad?

The problem

I have no philosophical or ethical problem with Christians allowing advertisements or selling products via their vast, far-flung internet empires - after all, the bills must be paid. However, I do believe that Christians must be vigilant and follow the Scriptural admonition to know the state of your flock - in other words, keep tabs on what is happening in your business. (Prov. 27:23)

It's important for me to know what ads are running on my blogs or websites. I don't want to be cheesy or, worse, display ads which my readership will view as morally inappropriate. Nor do I think it's sufficient to run a disclaimer (as I've seen at least one website do) saying they don't endorse the websites in their adspace. The result? I've seen apologetics websites running ads for all kinds of things and organizations which they are probably writing and preaching against!

Being vigilant...

Advertisements do appear on this blog from time to time which I find offensive and which my readers probably will, too. So, I deal with them as soon as possible. I never knew until today that there was such a thing as selling "gay cars," but when I saw the big ad promoting it, I immediately logged into my ad account and blocked that URL from running any more ads on my blog. Are there people who deliberately target Christian blogs for this sort of thing? Can't say... but Christians who blog about certain social issues (rather unavoidable in my home state) need to be vigilant and know what's running on their site. I don't think that's asking for too much, and it will avoid misunderstanding on the part of your readers who may not know why you are "running" such an ad or may conclude that you are a lazy blogger.

And if anybody's eyeballs popped out by seeing the car ad, sorry...

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Separation of church and state - is it on the way out?


What did Jefferson really mean - and have his words been twisted?

Jefferson's phrase "wall of separation" when talking about church and state has, ironically, gained religious importance in the minds of many. Looking into a question that is rarely dealt with even-handedly, the Washington Times educates the public a bit on the separation of church and state and wonders if the "wall of separation" is coming down:

Francis Manion, senior counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), says that with its 5-4 opinion in Van Orden v. Perry, the high court "did away with the idea that there is something constitutionally radioactive about the Ten Commandments."

In a December 2005 ruling about a Kentucky courthouse's display of the Ten Commandments, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that the phrase "separation of church and state" is an "extra-constitutional construct ... [that] has grown tiresome." The court ruled that the display was allowed because it was "part of an otherwise secular exhibit."

Since then, the ACLJ, a public-interest law firm that specializes in religious-liberty cases, has won "most of the Ten Commandments court cases" in which it has participated, Mr. Manion says....

Many Americans wrongly assume the words "separation of church and state" are included in the U.S. Constitution.

This is an article worth reading and spreading around: get the printer-friendly version here. (Thanks to LP for story.)

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

El Trio de Hoy performs at Mid Point Cafe, this Friday



The Mid Point Café (MPC) concert series continues Friday, Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m. at Harvest Time Church, 1338 King St., Greenwich with a concert featuring Massachusetts-based Latin funk band El Trio de Hoy. The bilingual band will present a concert of original Gospel music. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Suggested donation is $10 for adults, $5 for teens. For information, contact Harvest Time Church at (203) 531-7778.

Mid Point Café is a meeting place, concert venue, and workshop where novice and professional musicians—and those that love music—can gather to experience the musical process. For more information about MPC, visit www.htchurch.com and click on the Mid Point Café link on the left column. Following the tradition of past concert series events, this concert will take place within Harvest Time’s sanctuary, transformed into a hip café setting with dozens of tables and chairs for relaxing and enjoying the music and a latté. The evening will feature interview moments with El Trio de Hoy and, as always, opportunities for younger members of the audience to jam with these seasoned pros.

Started in 1995 with three members (Jessie Gonzalez, Freddie Velez and Jesus "Kuzo" Velez), El Trio de Hoy now includes five members who create a blend of sweet harmony of acoustic guitars combined with an extra bass player (Alex Moran) and solid drummer (Orlando Gonzalez). Their sound has a unique quality that is enticing to audiences of all ages.

El Trio de Hoy’s contemporary rhythm has taken them around the country to play in venues like the Madison Square Garden with Dr. Rodney Howard Brown, the TWA Dome in St. Louis, MO and the RCA Dome with the Assemblies of God General Council. The band has shared the stage with artist such as Jennifer Knapp, Third Day, Andre Crouch, Anointed, Darlene Zschech, Bryan Duncan, Jackie Velasquez and many others. Most recently, El Trio de Hoy performed at the Potters House in Dallas, where Bishop T.D. Jakes is pastor. With humble hearts and a clear vision of their calling, these five pastor's sons are taking the message of Jesus Christ across the country letting God open the doors of the path that they should continue to travel.

Upcoming MPC concert series performances
March 2, 2007: Sam Cintron Band, soul
April 6, 2007: Bobby Lewis, Gospel
May 4, 2007: Bristrous Brothers, comedy
June 2, 2007, 3-7 p.m.: Backyard Outdoor Festival, food, music and more

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

East Haven Church contemplates leaving Episcopal Church

Christ and the Epiphany Church, one of the "Connecticut Six ," is getting ready to vote as a parish as to whether to leave the national Episcopal Church over the dispute with Bishop Smith. This is major news that could indicate the beginning of the end of these six churches' connection with the denomination sometime after the Lenten season.

According to the New Haven Register, the church's rector, Rev. Gilbert V. Wilkes, says the dispute isn't personal but is about Christian orthodoxy. Personally, I'm glad to see this even get mentioned, however much in passing.

Read it all here.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Back in the game


God's still moving even when the traffic isn't!

We're back again after taking a bit of an online sabbatical and look forward to serving you this year. What's going to be new for us in 2007?

The Christian Events Calendar will start to get regular updates again and this year we hope to include more events from more venues and different parts of the church. We also hope to grow outside of our typical geographical areas.

We'll soon be launching a new online Christian bookstore in association with Amazon. Having said that, we still intend to retain our relationship with Christianbook.com in order to provide the fullest range of products possible for you.

The popular Connecticut Church Map will continue to grow. Write us and let us know about great churches we can add to the map!

Looking forward to what God is going to do in our midst in 2007!

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Without God

What should we think about the rise of what's being called the New Atheism? A particularly in-your-face repackaging of the old atheism, the New Atheism is getting lots of airplay and print media attention through the writings of people like Dr. Richard Dawkins. In today's Wall Street Journal, Sam Schulman insightfully summarizes why the new atheists are not as engaging as the older crop:

For the new atheists, believing in God is a form of stupidity, which sets off their own intelligence. They write as if they were the first to discover that biblical miracles are improbable, that Parson Weems was a fabulist, that religion is full of superstition. They write as if great minds had never before wrestled with the big questions of creation, moral law and the contending versions of revealed truth. They argue as if these questions are easily answered by their own blunt materialism. Most of all, they assume that no intelligent, reflective person could ever defend religion rather than dismiss it. The reviewer of Dr. Dawkins's volume in a recent New York Review of Books noted his unwillingness to take theology seriously, a starting point for any considered debate over religion.

The faith that the new atheists describe is a simple-minded parody. It is impossible to see within it what might have preoccupied great artists and thinkers like Homer, Milton, Michelangelo, Newton and Spinoza--let alone Aquinas, Dr. Johnson, Kierkegaard, Goya, Cardinal Newman, Reinhold Niebuhr or, for that matter, Albert Einstein. But to pass over this deeper faith--the kind that engaged the great minds of Western history--is to diminish the loss of faith too. The new atheists are separated from the old by their shallowness.

To read the accounts of the first generation of atheists is profoundly moving. Matthew Arnold wrote of the "eternal note of sadness" sounded when the "Sea of Faith" receded from human life. In one testament after another--George Eliot, Carlyle, Hardy, Darwin himself--the Victorians described the sense of grief they felt when religion goes--and the keen, often pathetic attempts to replace it by love, by art, by good works, by risk-seeking and--fatally--by politics.

Read it all here.

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