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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

National Day of Prayer this Thursday

This Thursday, May 1st, is the National Day of Prayer. This year there are many events taking place all across the State - find one near you by clicking here and searching Connecticut.

President Bush's Official Proclamation for the day states:

A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

America trusts in the abiding power of prayer and asks for the wisdom to discern God's will in times of joy and of trial. As we observe this National Day of Prayer, we recognize our dependence on the Almighty, we thank Him for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us, and we put our country's future in His hands.

From our Nation's humble beginnings, prayer has guided our leaders and played a vital role in the life and history of the United States. Americans of many different faiths share the profound conviction that God listens to the voice of His children and pours His grace upon those who seek Him in prayer. By surrendering our lives to our loving Father, we learn to serve His eternal purposes, and we are strengthened, refreshed, and ready for all that may come.

On this National Day of Prayer, we ask God's continued blessings on our country. This year's theme, "Prayer! America's Strength and Shield," is taken from Psalm 28:7, "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped." On this day, we pray for the safety of our brave men and women in uniform, for their families, and for the comfort and recovery of those who have been wounded.

The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, as amended, has called on our Nation to reaffirm the role of prayer in our society by recognizing each year a "National Day of Prayer."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 1, 2008, as a National Day of Prayer. I ask the citizens of our Nation to give thanks, each according to his or her own faith, for the freedoms and blessings we have received and for God's continued guidance, comfort, and protection. I invite all Americans to join in observing this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-second.

GEORGE W. BUSH

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Switchfoot in concert at Stamford, May 2



Top Christian band Switchfoot returns to Connecticut on Friday, May 2 with a concert in Stamford's Palace Theatre.

For tickets and more details, please visit www.RockTheSound.com.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Milford will participate in "World Tai Chi Day." Why?

From the Connecticut Post:

Saturday, the 10th anniversary of the World Tai Chi and Qigong Day, will be marked here by a demonstration on the Green of the centuries-old techniques.

"It is the third time that Milford has participated in the event, which is called 'One World, One Breath,' " said organizer Lamont Thomas. "Beginning in New Zealand, people will be gathering in parks at 10 a.m. local time to do tai chi and qigong and to teach it.

"I've been a practitioner and a teacher for four years and I started as a way to reduce stress," Thomas said. "It is a healing modality and a martial art that stresses balance."

Bruce Walker, like Thomas a local teacher of the Chinese technique, said tai chi acts on the body's hormonal and immune systems. "You deliberately squeeze, stretch and pull your internal organs around with your core muscles and that gets the enzymes and hormones out of the organs and into the bloodstream."


What's wrong with this picture? This is an essentially religious practice, but advocates of Eastern religious and meditative practices have for many years been adept at recasting such things as exercise. Christians in the West typically do not understand the religious roots and scientific flimsiness - or even dangers - of many of these "imports."

What's the basis of Tai Chi? Dr. Stephen Barrett, M.D., writes at Quackwatch.com:

"Chinese medicine," often called "Oriental medicine" or "traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)," encompasses a vast array of folk medical practices based on mysticism. It holds that the body's vital energy (chi or qi) circulates through channels, called meridians, that have branches connected to bodily organs and functions. Illness is attributed to imbalance or interruption of chi.. Ancient practices such as acupuncture, Qigong, and the use of various herbs are claimed to restore balance....

In 1997, a Consensus Development Conference sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and several other agencies concluded that "there is sufficient evidence . . . of acupuncture's value to expand its use into conventional medicine and to encourage further studies of its physiology and clinical value." The panelists also suggested that the federal government and insurance companies expand coverage of acupuncture so more people can have access to it. These conclusions were not based on research done after NCAHF's position paper was published. Rather, they reflected the bias of the panelists who were selected by a planning committee dominated by acupuncture proponents. NCAHF board chairman Wallace Sampson, M.D., has described the conference "a consensus of proponents, not a consensus of valid scientific opinion."

Although the report described some serious problems, it failed to place them into proper perspective. The panel acknowledged that "the vast majority of papers studying acupuncture consist of case reports, case series, or intervention studies with designs inadequate to assess efficacy" and that "relatively few" high-quality controlled trials have been published about acupuncture's effects. But it reported that "the World Health Organization has listed more than 40 [conditions] for which [acupuncture] may be indicated." This sentence should have been followed by a statement that the list was not valid.

Far more serious, although the consensus report touched on Chinese acupuncture theory, it failed to point out the danger and economic waste involved in going to practitioners who can't make appropriate diagnoses. The report noted:

  • The general theory of acupuncture is based on the premise that there are patterns of energy flow (Qi) through the body that are essential for health. Disruptions of this flow are believed to be responsible for disease. The acupuncturist can correct imbalances of flow at identifiable points close to the skin.
  • Acupuncture focuses on a holistic, energy-based approach to the patient rather than a disease-oriented diagnostic and treatment model.
  • Despite considerable efforts to understand the anatomy and physiology of the "acupuncture points," the definition and characterization of these points remains controversial. Even more elusive is the scientific basis of some of the key traditional Eastern medical concepts such as the circulation of Qi, the meridian system, and the five phases theory, which are difficult to reconcile with contemporary biomedical information but continue to play an important role in the evaluation of patients and the formulation of treatment in acupuncture.

Simply stated, this means that if you go to a practitioner who practices traditional Chinese medicine, you are unlikely to be properly diagnosed. Very few publications have mentioned this, which strikes me as very strange. Even Consumer Reports magazine has advised readers who want acupuncture treatment to consult a practitioner who is NCCAOM-certified. I advise people to avoid "certified" practitioners. Because the training needed for certification is based on nonsensical TCM theories, the safest way to obtain acupuncture is from a medical doctor who does research at a university-based medical school and does not expouse such theories. [Footnotes omitted.]


We owe it to ourselves to be better informed, not only for our health's sake but for our spiritual health's sake, too.

The Pope and the Pentecostals

No papal visit would be complete without the obligatory New York Times article about the challenge posed to the Catholic Church by Pentecostalism, complete with photos of frenetic worshippers:


As Pope Benedict XVI completes his visit to the United States on Sunday with a Mass at Yankee Stadium, in a borough that has been home to generations of Latinos, he does so facing something of a growing challenge to the church’s immigrant ranks.

For if Latinos are feeding the population of the church, many have also turned to Pentecostalism, a form of evangelical Christianity that stresses a personal, even visceral, connection with God.

Today, it has more Latino followers in the United States than any other denomination except Catholicism; they are drawn, they say, by the faith’s joyous worship, its use of Latino culture and the enveloping sense of community it offers to newcomers. As the Pew survey revealed, half of all Latinos who have joined Pentecostal denominations were raised as Catholics.

Of course, being the New York Times, all of this is chalked up to "populism." There is no reference at all to theology in the sense of anyone's actual beliefs, only the feelings of belonging that people have. The Times seems to give voice to the sentiment of some that more Mariachi masses will stem the exodus. Is this analysis?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Internet Evangelism Day 2008



The vast majority of Christian websites are made by Christians, for Christians. Is that a problem?

Internet Evangelism Day is coming up on Sunday, April 27 - a time for churches and people everywhere to think about how to use this cute little internet thing to reach people for Christ.

Note: this video refers to last year's date.

For more information, visit the Internet Evangelism Day website here.

Run Against Drugs in Danbury, April 26



Athletes of Christ and many others are sponsoring a 5K Race/Walk called "Danbury Running Against Drugs" on April 26 at Rogers Park in Danbury.

For more information, visit www.tri-n-run.com.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The pregnant man. Or, not.

I had heard of this in passing but frankly so much strangeness crosses one's eyes these days that I hadn't actually read about it.

Thomas may be a man in the eyes of the law, but she remains physically a woman, with a woman's reproductive system, a woman's genitals, and a woman's chromosomes. So when she and Nancy decided to have a baby, she had little trouble conceiving through artificial insemination. The result is the spectacle that has drawn so much attention: a bearded pregnant woman named Thomas, who identifies herself as a man, and has a lawfully wedded wife.


More here from Jeff Jacoby, if you can stand it.

Dave Pettigrew coming to House of Grace Coffee House

Dave Pettigrew
Christian recording artist Dave Pettigrew

The "House of Grace" Community Coffee House will be hosting Dave Pettigrew for an uplifting program of Christian music. This concert event will be held on May 10, 2008 at Grace Baptist Church, 400 Burnt Plains Road, Milford, CT. Join us for food & fellowship at 6:00 PM, with music following afterwards at 7:00 PM.

For more information call (203) 874-8928 or visit www.houseofgracecc.com. Free admission, food & drink.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Why America is falling apart

Well, one reason anyway. I came across this interesting piece about education. Here's an 8th-grade final exam from a Kansas school in the year 1895.


“Grammar. Give nine rules for the use of capital letters. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications. Define verse, stanza and paragraph. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts of ‘lie’, ‘play’ and ‘run’. Define case; Illustrate each case. What is punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation.

“Arithmetic. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold? If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel, deducting 1050 lbs. for tare? District No. 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals? Find the cost of 6720 lbs. of coal at $6.00 per ton. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.

“U.S. History. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War. Show the territorial growth of the United States. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.

“Orthography. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication? What are elementary sounds? How classified? What are the following, and give examples of each: Trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals. Give four substitutes for caret ‘u’. (Huh?). Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions under each rule. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.

“Geography. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend? How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas? Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean? Describe the mountains of North America. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.


Hmmm. How did you do? Hat tip: Assist News.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Watch your roofs!

Now it's not just copper; church thieves are after the lead in your roofs as well:


“Whenever I get an early morning phone call these days, I think, ‘Oh no, they’ve taken the roof again,’ ” said John Deave, 80, a retired barrister and a churchwarden at St. Guthlac’s church in Stathern, another Leicestershire village, where the church was vandalized in January.

Part of the problem is that no one is going to church in some of these places.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Thursday's Rally in Hartford a big success

From the FIC:

"They converged in big numbers at the state Capitol today to rally against same-sex marriage and for the right to homeschool their children." That was how Channel 3's Al Terzi began a 5:30 pm Eyewitness News report about FIC Action's Pro-Family Rally and Lobby Day yesterday. You can see the report that ran on the 12:00 pm edition of Eyewitness News by clicking here.

A "crowd of about 125" attended our Rally, according to today's Courant. That number appears on page B3, in a caption beneath a beautiful Shana Sureck photo of FIC Action president Peter Wolfgang's daughter Elizabeth, age 7. You can view the Courant's "Family Institute of Connecticut rally" photo gallery by clicking here. The Rally was also covered by Fox 61's News at Ten show, the Archdiocese of Hartford's "Crossroads" television program and airmaria.com.

Christian divorce rates confirmed to be as high as anyone else's

wedding flowers

From The Christian Post comes more disturbing evidence of the disintegration of society:

After months of revived debate over divorce and its increasing acceptance among Americans, a new study affirmed born again Christians are just as likely as the average American couple to divorce.

The Barna Group found in its latest study that born again Christians who are not evangelical were indistinguishable from the national average on the matter of divorce with 33 percent having married and divorced at least once. Among all born again Christians, which includes evangelicals, the divorce figure is 32 percent, which is statistically identical to the 33 percent figure among non-born again adults, the research group noted.

"There no longer seems to be much of a stigma attached to divorce; it is now seen as an unavoidable rite of passage," George Barna, who directed the study, stated in the study, which was released Monday.

More here.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Pro-Family Rally this Thursday at Capitol

From the Family Institute of Connecticut comes this notice - be sure to visit their site for complete details:

Join Connecticut families from around the state to take a stand for protecting marriage, parental rights and the innocence of our children this Thursday, April 3rd on the east grounds of the state Capitol in Hartford at 10:00 am. More and more Connecticut residents like you who want to do something to stop our state's movement to redefine marriage, impose "transgendered" special rights and force "sex ed" on our children have committed to taking a day off from work to attend the rally.

FIC Action is also working to pass laws to protect the right of parents to homeschool their children, raise the age at which a minor girl must be counseled before obtaining an abortion and establish a task force to study fatherlessness in our state. But to pass the good bills and stop the bad bills, it is critical that we show our support for pro-family values on a weekday while the legislature is in session.

We will begin the day with the Pro-Family Rally on the east grounds of the state capitol and then move over to the Legislative Office Building (Room 1D) to meet with our legislators. We will have some basic training on how to talk to your legislators, so don't worry if you've never done this sort of thing before! Also, it is fine to simply come and attend the Rally and not the Lobby Day. We are asking you to do whatever you can to protect marriage and the family!