Peoria Chabad holds memorial service

Chabad of Peoria held a memorial service on Sunday morning for the two Chabad schlichim (emissaries) who were killed by terrorists in Mumbai, India, last week. Rabbi Eli Langsam, who, with his wife, Sarah, is the Chabad emissary to Peoria, Ill., led the chanting of Psalms, gave a brief assessment of the lives of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg’s lives and urged Jews to perform mitzvot (commandments) as a way of honoring the memory of the Holtzbergs. Langsam offered men the chance to do just that before they left, helping them to don tefillin.

Langsam, who knew Rabbi Holtzberg, struggled emotionally through some parts of the half-hour service, choking up at a couple points during the Psalms and a memorial prayer.

About 30 people attended the service, all of them members of the Peoria Jewish community except for me and my son, Nathaniel. I have to say that I was disappointed by the lack of turnout by Peoria Christians. Granted, the weather wasn’t great, but the roads were clear. Perhaps the problem was that it hadn’t been widely publicized or that it was held on Sunday morning, during church. But I think an overflow attendance by Christians who decided to mourn alongside the Jewish community would have been a better witness to our faith than attendance at church on this particular Sunday morning. After all, if as followers of Messiah we are grafted into Israel (Romans 11), then, whether the Jewish community acknowledges it or not, they are our brothers and sisters. At the very least, we worship the same God. Rabbi Langsam expressed appreciation that my son and I showed up. Too bad he couldn’t have expressed appreciation that dozens, or hundreds, of Christians had shown up.

Kudos to the Peoria Journal Star and WEEK-TV, Channel 25, for sending reporters and a photographer. I was interviewed by 25, and did a pretty wretched job. After 30 years as a journalist, I’m fine when I’m on the questioning side, but am tongue tied on the answering side.

Health-care options

Devon Herrick says this in a Modesto Bee op-ed piece about health-care reform:

The best reform would liberate doctors to meet patient needs in innovative ways, free patients to become smart shoppers, and allow a competitive medical marketplace to allocate resources, while raising quality and lowering cost in the process. Mandates should be avoided in favor of making more options available through consumer-driven health plans. Most such plans include the expansion of health savings accounts to encourage greater participation. Patients with health savings accounts are significantly more likely to talk to their doctor about treatment costs and options, track their health-care payouts and estimate future expenses.

But then, clear thinking never makes headway in D.C.

Homosexuals take aim at Mormon churches

I’m no fan of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, although Mormons make Bible-believing evangelism efforts look pretty bad by comparison. But the harassment the LDS has been subjected to in California by sore-loser homosexual activists over the approval of Prop 8, banning same-sex marriage, is inexusable. Here’s the latest attack.

The One says it, so it must be so

But Obama, in his taped message, pointed to rising sea levels, record drought, spreading famine and stronger storms as evidence of climate change. “The science is beyond dispute, and the facts are clear,” he said.

via Obama’s video message energizes climate conference – Los Angeles Times

What is it about proclamations like this that cause echoes of “Sieg, Heil!”? “Beyond dispute” means there’s no disagreement? I don’t like this. And why is it he’ll take such a strong stand on an issue like climate change, but whether life begins at conception is “above my pay grade”?

Diocese of Quincy, where art thou?

This from the presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church in response to the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy’s decision to realign with the Anglican Southern Cone province:

From the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, on the vote at the Quincy convention:

We lament the departure from The Episcopal Church of some individuals in southern Illinois.  The Episcopal Diocese of Quincy remains, albeit with fewer members, and we are working to assist in the reorganization of diocesan affairs.  We assure all, both Episcopalians and former Episcopalians, and members of their surrounding communities, of our prayers for clarity and charity in their spiritual journeys.  May all be reminded that the gospel work of healing this world will take the best efforts of every person of faith.

Southern Illinois? Going to be hard to find those “fewer members” if TEC doesn’t even know where to look. Oh, wait, Quincy is outside of Chicago and therefore in “southern Illinois.” The Diocese of Quincy stretches from Geneseo, Kewanee and Princeton in the north to Quincy and Griggsville in the south. Only the last comes close to being in “southern Illinois.”

At stake in the split are churches, diocesan property, bank accounts and other financial assets. So far, TEC hasn’t been faring well in courts trying to get property back from departed congregations, at least in Virginia.

Some churches are in good shape. St. Francis in Dunlap is leasing space and Bread of Life Anglican Fellowship in Peoria also is either renting or meeting in space owned by an individual.

The most interesting case probably will involve St. Paul’s Cathedral in Peoria, as well as the diocesan office building nearby.


Two excellent blog posts on the aftermath of the election:

One by Voddie Baucham.

One by James Lansberry.

Both offer a better perspective on how Christians should respond to the election than I ever could have. And, I’m ashamed to admit that both convict me of having an ungodly attitude toward the results.

It’s a miracle!

The “In Step With …” feature on musician Melissa Etheridge in the 11/9/08 Parade magazine featured this bit of information:

Melissa’s new love is actress Tammy Lynn Michaels, and the two women had their first children, twins, two years ago. “My wife works harder than anyone else,” said Melissa of Tammy, “with the children and around the house. I make the money, sure, but she does everything else. And the older children love Tammy. She’s a great stepmother.”

Wow!! “The two women had … twins”!! But … but … how?

I know: It’s a miracle!

Or, well, did there have to be a man involved somewhere? Because as far as I know, that’s still a requirement.

The question is, how did interviewer James Brady not bust out in laughter at the idea that the women “had” their own babies? No, instead, he did a straight piece, apparently with a straight face, on Etheridge, who also has two children from an, ahem, previous relationship.

At least, judging from Etheridge’s reference to her partner as “my wife,” we know who wears the pants in the family.

The fact that someone in the media can report on this as if it has any semblance of normalcy is stunning.