Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Christians Now Outnumber Communists in China; Suicide bombers kill more than 40 at Nigerian market; Automation Makes Us Dumb...more

ISIS Destroy Convent in Mosul Yesterday, jihadi militants of the Islamic State, who control the city of Mosul, used explosives to severely damage the convent of the Chaldean Sisters of the Sacred Heart - one of 45 Christian institutions they have captured since June. Previously they were living in the building.

Chaldean sources report that the explosion took place in two phases. The first attempt was unsuccessful, but then the jihadists used more powerful explosives, causing massive damage to the convent, with the intent to eliminate the cross that stands on the place of worship...

  Two teenage girls wearing suicide belts blew themselves up in a market in northern Nigeria on Tuesday, killing more than 40 people, authorities said. It was the latest in a string of horrific attacks in Nigeria for which Islamist militants are blamed.

The day before, dozens were killed in Damasak, a town on the border with Niger, when insurgents disguised as traders attacked the local market, gunning down people seemingly at random in a style of attack that has become commonplace in northeastern Nigeria.

Days before that, suspected militants killed 48 fish traders from a village near Lake Chad.

There has been little response to the attacks from the Nigerian military...

Why the Crackdown? Christians Now Outnumber Communists in China China’s Communist government has been on an anti-Christian rampage of late, tearing down churches in the coastal city of Wenzhou and elsewhere, arresting underground bishops and home church leaders, and illicitly ordaining pliant priests as Catholic “bishops.“ But underneath this escalating campaign of repression – in fact, the reason for it – is a rapidly growing population of Christians.

There are now an estimated 100 million plus Christians in the world’s most populous country, with Catholics alone accounting for about 12 million of this number. Many of these are new converts who, eager to fulfill the Great Commission, are busy evangelizing their fellow Chinese citizens. The Chinese Communist Party has been doing some recruiting of its own in recent years, opening its ranks to intellectuals, business owners, and other previously suspect classes – even capitalists! Still, the 86.7 million formal members of this decaying "faith" – most of whom are Communists in name only – are now outnumbered by a growing and vibrant Chinese Christianity...

New Obamacare rule means you won’t know if you’re paying for abortions

Obamacare offers firms $3,000 incentive to hire illegals over native-born workers ...President Obama’s temporary amnesty, which lasts three years, declares up to 5 million illegal immigrants to be lawfully in the country and eligible for work permits, but it still deems them ineligible for public benefits such as buying insurance on Obamacare’s health exchanges.

Under the Affordable Care Act, that means businesses who hire them won’t have to pay a penalty for not providing them health coverage — making them $3,000 more attractive than a similar native-born worker, whom the business by law would have to cover...

IRS sued for monitoring U.S. churches
In a lawsuit settlement with the atheist Freedom from Religion Foundation, the Internal Revenue Service admitted it had monitored churches for allegedly illegal political activity, but the details never were released because the group withdrew its complaint.
 
Now, Washington watchdog Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the IRS seeking any records relevant to IRS monitoring of churches and other tax exempt organizations regarding alleged political activity.

The suit requests access to the communications that went on between the IRS and FFRF about the issue...
 
Automation Makes Us Dumb; Human intelligence is withering as computers do more, but there’s a solution Artificial intelligence has arrived. Today’s computers are discerning and sharp. They can sense the environment, untangle knotty problems, make subtle judgments and learn from experience. They don’t think the way we think—they’re still as mindless as toothpicks—but they can replicate many of our most prized intellectual talents. Dazzled by our brilliant new machines, we’ve been rushing to hand them all sorts of sophisticated jobs that we used to do ourselves.

But our growing reliance on computer automation may be exacting a high price. Worrisome evidence suggests that our own intelligence is withering as we become more dependent on the artificial variety. Rather than lifting us up, smart software seems to be dumbing us down...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Massive pro-life march in Madrid; Sunday morning inconvenient for church services; Sacred art...more

A Decision in Ferguson: How Should Evangelicals Respond?   In light of the grand jury decision handed down tonight in in the wake of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, MO, I think it is of utmost importance that all Christians, but specifically white evangelicals, talk a little less and listen a little more.

Or, put another way, maybe some need to spend less time insisting that African Americans shouldn't be upset and spend more time asking why some are. Yes, this case reminds us again that the racial divide is clear, as a just released CNN poll demostrated.(sic)
 
I wasn't in the grand jury room, and I don't know the evidence, but many godly African American leaders are hurting and they are explaining why.
 
I think we should listen to them...

UK: ‘Parties treat gay marriage opponents as morally inferior’  David Cameron’s ‘casual imposition’ of gay marriage “insulted settled beliefs”, and “wounded him politically”, a former editor of The Daily Telegraph has said.

Writing for the paper, Charles Moore commented that the main political parties treat opponents of same-sex marriage as “moral inferiors”.

He criticised the assumption in parts of the Western world that those who disagree with redefining marriage are “bigots” and should be “virtually disqualified from public office”...

Sacred art
Fra Angelico’s frescos inspired generations of devotion. Can religious art still work its magic on the godless?

Sunday morning inconvenient for church services ... says Church of England ...Attendances at midweek services rose even faster with the number of adults doubling to 15,000.

Yet attendance at Sunday services in parishes has halved since the 1960s to below 800,000.

Speaking on behalf of the Church of England, Mr Dorber said the fact that midweek cathedral services were likely to be “reasonably short” was also part of the attraction.

He said: “People often squeeze them in to very, very pressurised lifestyles, whereas at the weekend you have got commitments with children doing sport, shopping, household maintenance.

“Life is run at the double these days and weekends are very pressurised and very committed.

“Taking out half an hour or an hour during the week is much more negotiable, it comes out of much more discretionary time.”...
Proof God's not dead? How midweek Cathedral attendance doubled in a decade

Massive pro-life march in Madrid demands Spanish government rescind permissive abortion law     Madrid was mobbed with pro-life activists this weekend, demanding that the government live up to its promise to enact legislation protecting the unborn.

A huge pro-life demonstration, attended by 1,400,000 according to the organizers and 60,000 according to police sources, took place in Madrid on Saturday to demand that the government live up to its election promise to reverse the previous Zapatero government’s law allowing abortion-on-demand.

Thousands of families and individuals converged on La Plaza de Colón carrying banners that read, "Every life matters," and "For life, women and motherhood.”...

Monday, November 24, 2014

That which is born in prayer...

play of light in santhome church
For this sin hungry age we need a prayer-hungry Church. We need to explore again the "exceeding great and precious promises of God." In "that great day," the fire of judgment is going to test the sort, not the size, of the work we have done. That which is born in prayer will survive the test. Prayer does business with God. Prayer creates hunger for souls; hunger for souls creates prayer. The understanding soul prays, the praying soul gets understanding. To the soul who prays in self-owned weakness, the Lord gives His strength. ...Leonard Ravenhill image

Grand jury in Ferguson case does not indict officer in Michael Brown shooting

November 24, 2014

A grand jury in St. Louis County on Monday declined to indict the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in August in a case that touched off nationwide protests and cries of police brutality.

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch announced the decision Monday evening. A grand jury of nine whites and three blacks had been meeting weekly since Aug. 20 to consider evidence. The panel met for 70 hours and heard from 60 witnesses.
 
McCulloch stressed that the grand jurors were "the only people who heard every witness ... and every piece of evidence." He said many witness presented conflicting statements that ultimately were inconsistent with the physical evidence.

"These grand jurors poured their hearts and soul into this process," he said.  the rest

NYT: Grand Jury Does Not Charge Ferguson Officer in Michael Brown Shooting

Anglican Unscripted Episode 140


Nov 24, 2014

Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, and Allan bring you news and prospective from around the globe. Please donate at http://anglican.tv/donate

Kenya kills 100 Islamist militants who claimed responsibility for bus attack; The Secret Life of Passwords...more

Kenya kills 100 Islamist militants who claimed responsibility for bus attack  Kenyan security forces have pursued and killed more than 100 militants and destroyed their camp in Somalia after the ambush of a Nairobi-bound bus that killed 28 people, Deputy President William Ruto said on Sunday.

Somalia's Islamist al Shabaab militants have claimed responsibility for the attack on Saturday, when gunmen ordered passengers on the bus to recite Koran verses and shot dead non-Muslims - 19 men and nine women - who could not.

The group said the killing outside Mandera, a town in the far northeast near the Somali and Ethiopian borders, was in retaliation for raids on mosques in the southern port city of Mombasa...

In advance of Ferguson grand jury decision, something's missing when Los Angeles Times goes to church  -GetReligion

Three Lies About Obamacare Jonathan Gruber Accidentally Revealed  For all the hang-wringing over economist Jonathan Gruber’s comments about “the stupidity of the American voter,” there’s been less outrage over the official obfuscation of Obamacare that his comments have revealed. Perhaps that’s because the obfuscation is less shocking, on the surface, than the disdain Gruber shows for the unwashed masses.

But it’s actually more important, because it reveals a pattern of deception surrounding the law that’s been there from the very beginning. Gruber was about as much of an insider during the creation of Obamacare as one could be, and it’s reasonable to think that his understanding of the law was the same, more or less, as that of the White House. Here’s the three main falsehoods about Obamacare, perpetuated by the administration and the law’s champions in Congress, that Gruber’s candor have revealed...

The Secret Life of Passwords
We despise them – yet we imbue them with our hopes and dreams, our dearest memories, our deepest meanings. They unlock much more than our accounts...


Nov 14, 2014

As part of our continuing series "On the Road," Steve Hartman meets Jason Brown, who quit the NFL to tackle a new field, literally.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Lift up thine eyes, O watchman...

Lift up thine eyes, O watchman, the armies of the Lord
Are riding forth to conquest with buckler, shield and sword;
Glad tidings unto Zion, that valiant host shall ring,
And shout aloud, “Hosanna! The Lord, the Lord is King”;
And shout aloud, “Hosanna! The Lord, the Lord is King.”
 
What dost thou see, O watchman? What dost thou see afar?
“The gleaming of a banner, the rising of a Star.”
Then cry aloud, O watchman, with trumpet voice proclaim,
To all a full salvation, through Christ, the Savior’s Name,
To all a full salvation, through Christ, the Savior’s Name.
 
That radiant banner gleaming, that Star divinely bright,
Shall bear to every nation the blessèd Gospel light;
All kingdoms, crowns, and scepters, before the Cross shall fall,
And Christ shall reign triumphant, the King and Lord of all;
And Christ shall reign triumphant, the King and Lord of all.
-Fanny Crosby image

Friday, November 21, 2014

Anglican Unscripted Episode 139 - Rebooting Anglicanism


Nov 21, 2014

Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, and Allan bring you news and prospective from around the globe. Please donate at http://anglican.tv/donate

Rebooting Anglicanism without Canterbury.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Billy Graham: In Our ‘Lawless and Wicked Age; Grisly quotes from abortionists;...more

NC: More Magistrates Quit Over Same-Sex Marriage Issue than Previously Reported 
..."I explained to the judges that I could not continue to perform as a magistrate if it included doing something that was against my sincere religious beliefs," Kallam said at a rally supporting his decision to quit his job.

"I felt like to perform same sex unions would be in violation of the Lord's commands so I couldn't do that," said former Gaston Co. Magistrate Bill Stevenson after his resignation.

Time Warner Cable News has been able to determine at least 10 of the 16 magistrates who left last month, did so because they will not perform same-sex marriages.

"There were no offers to make any accommodations,” Kallam said. “I basically was told that you either do this or you will be suspended without pay and will then be dismissed."...

The Modern Supermarket Is a Miracle ...Sheer selection at the supermarket overwhelms. I was struck recently by the alarming number of items of whose history, use, and preparation I am completely ignorant. Pitted loquats are $3.19 a can, and whole lychees in syrup only two quarters more. Head cheese remains a mystery—and please, please don’t enlighten me. I have no idea what a yucca root is, but yucca’n get one for less than a buck a pound. I came home from the grocer’s a few weeks back and excitedly proposed to the dear wife that we work our way around the produce section and sample the unfamiliar wares. This culminated in my butchering a squishy, yellow, football-sized orb known as a crenshaw melon, which was underripe (how were we to know?) but still good...

Five quotes from abortion providers that show abortion’s grisly reality  For those of us who are active in the pro-life movement, and who know what an unborn baby looks like even at the earliest stages, it is hard to believe that so many people do not know that abortions often leave behind recognizable body parts. People really are uninformed about fetal development, especially in the first trimester. For example, this past May, pro-lifers responded with incredulity when comedian Sarah Silverman called unborn babies “goo.”

The next time one of your proabortion friends or family members makes a statement like Silverman’s, direct them to these quotes by three abortion clinic workers and two abortionists...

Billy Graham: In Our ‘Lawless and Wicked Age … We've Taught the Philosophy of the Devil  ... Reverend Graham’s commentary, first broadcast in August 1955, was published in the November 4,  2014 issue of Decision magazine, under the headline “Raising Children in a Godless Age.”

“Many Christian parents are becoming fearful that they cannot properly train their children in this lawless and wicked age,” and are asking, “What can I do with my son? My daughter?” said Rev. Graham.

“We are beginning to reap what has been sown for the past generation,” he said.  “We have taught the philosophy of the Devil, who says, ‘Do as you please.’ Behaviorism has been the moral philosophy of much of our education in the past few years.”...

New York, Great Lakes Snowstorm Leaves 7 Dead; More Snow Expected  A massive snowstorm has killed at least seven people and left many more stranded in their vehicles in Buffalo, New York, and affected several other Great Lake states, including northern Wisconsin and Michigan. Further snow is expected to hit Buffalo on Thursday, which was buried under six feet of snow and declared a state of emergency.

"This storm is an extraordinarily difficult situation, with snowfall that may break records. We are prepared, but we need residents to stay off the roads so that first responders can do their work and keep people safe," New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Anglicanism and women bishops: Hello ladies, goodbye Communion?

The Economist
November 19, 2014

Amid loud sighs of relief in many quarters, and muffled moans from a traditionalist minority, the Church of England has cleared the last procedural obstacle to the appointment of women bishops. At a meeting on Monday of the church's General Synod, only around 30 of the 480 people present raised their hands against the necessary change in canon law. This means that a woman could be wearing episcopal purple by the end of the year, and a lady could join the ranks of the "lords spiritual"—Anglican prelates who sit in the upper chamber of Parliament—by next spring.

This was a big but expected landmark; a Synod vote two years ago, in which the measure narrowly failed to gain the approval of lay delegates, looks in retrospect like a rather weird anomaly. The change was overwhelmingly favoured by the leadership of the church, the clergy (one-third of which is female), and by public opinion—which matters for a church which aspires to be spiritual voice of a whole nation, however diverse or secular. The feelings of low-church evangelicals who oppose women bishops have to some degree been assuaged by a promise that one of their number will be appointed to high office; among high-church opponents, quite a few have taken up an offer to join the Roman Catholic church. So hard-line opposition to ladies in purple has gradually faded.
 
If this week is remembered as an important one by church historians, it may be for a different reason: it was the moment when the archbishop of Canterbury finally acknowledged that the Anglican Communion, the global family of churches numbering about 80m of which he is head, may be impossible to hold together.  the rest

Islam comes to the National Cathedral; The closing of the Oxbridge mind; Three parent babies are unsafe, warns top US scientist...more

Islam comes to the National Cathedral
...Meanwhile, the Episcopal Church blindly, blithely thinks the cathedral’s Islamic service “demonstrates an appreciation of one another’s prayer tradition.”

In fact, it is against Islamic law for Muslims to hold Christianity or Judaism in the same regard the Episcopal Church is now showing Islam. Indeed, Islamic law “abrogates” (cancels) Christianity and Judaism as “previously revealed religions (that) were valid in their own eras,” but are no longer -- not after the advent of Islam in the 7th century.

I am quoting above from “Reliance of the Traveller,” the authoritative Sunni law book, which, in explaining the “finality” of Islam (page 846), asserts that it is “unbelief (kufr) to hold that remnant cults now bearing the names of formerly valid religions, such as ‘Christianity’ or ‘Judaism,’ are acceptable to Allah” post-Mohammed. (“Unbelief,” meanwhile, is an act of Islamic apostasy and punishable by death.) Clearly, no devout Muslim can show “appreciation” for the “prayer tradition” of a “remnant cult.” The sharia textbook is definitive about this point, adding: “This is a matter over which there is no disagreement among Islamic scholars.”

Not surprisingly, then, Ebrahim Rasool’s prayer-service statement conveys no interfaith reciprocity. Instead, he presses the need to “embrace our humanity and to embrace faith” -- not “our faiths” (plural). As usual, Islamic “outreach” is a one-way, non-ecumenical street.

But how could it be otherwise, according to Islam’s own teachings? Islamic expert Andrew Bostom notes that the Koranic prayers Muslims recite daily and specifically on Fridays “include, prominently, Koran Suras (chapters) 1, 87 and 88.” Sura 1, verse 7, he notes, is repeated up to 17 times per day by observant Muslims. It calls on Allah to guide Muslims “to the straight path, to the path of those you have blessed, not those who incurred (Your) wrath, nor of the misguided.” The former group (“wrath”) is Jewish; the latter (“misguided”) is Christian.

This is not exactly a “prayer tradition” that encourages the “appreciation” Episcopalians undoutbedly expect...

The closing of the Oxbridge mind. Better not to debate controversies such as abortion   Not for the first time, a college at a top UK university has completely shut down an attempt to organise a balanced debate on abortion.

Are the students running scared of possible credible opposition to their ‘abortion is the answer to everything’ mindset, by closing down all conversation with those who disagree, rather than engaging with it?

Or are they simply unaware (despite being – apparently - among the brightest students in the UK) that by shutting down any views other than their own that they are being both intolerant and utterly illiberal?...

Three parent babies are unsafe, warns top US scientist...‘The gap I’m talking about is about how much pre-clinical scientific work needs to be done before scientists or someone on the FDA would feel comfortable that we’re assured of safety.’

Asked whether it would be justifiable to permit the procedure to go ahead on compassionate grounds, Professor Snyder said it should not be allowed until all the extra research is completed.

He said: ‘We don’t know whether these changes will be passed to future generations.’...

Smile, You’re Speaking Emoji: The rapid evolution of a wordless tongue  ...It’s easy to dismiss emoji. They are, at first glance, ridiculous. They are a small invasive cartoon army of faces and vehicles and flags and food and symbols trying to topple the millennia-long reign of words. Emoji are intended to illustrate, or in some cases replace altogether, the words we send each other digitally, whether in a text message, email, or tweet. Taken together, emoji look like the electronic equivalent of those puffy stickers tweens used to ornament their Trapper Keepers.

And yet, if you have a smartphone, emoji are now available to you as an optional written language, just like any global language, such as Arabic and Catalan and Cherokee and Tamil and Tibetan and English. You’ll find an emoji keyboard on your iPhone, nestled right between Dutch and Estonian. The current set is limited to 722 symbols—these are the ones that have been officially encoded into Unicode, which is an international programming standard that allows one operating system to recognize text from another. (Basically, Unicode is the reason that the text message you send from your iPhone is legible to someone with an Android phone and vice versa.)... 😉